Pumpkin Paradise

  
These days, way before you smell the crisp fall air, see leaves turning, or start wearing long sleeves, you are smacked in the face with the arrival of the pumpkin. This popular gourd signals autumn before anything else whether it be in lattes, baked goods, or home decor. But who’s complaining?! 

The thing that immediately comes to my mind though, is always, pumpkin pie. (And pumpkin soup, but that’s another post for another day.) 

Baking and family history are two of my most favorite things so I’m elated today to combine the two with this delicious pumpkin pie recipe, made in my husband’s late great aunt Louise’s pumpkin pie dish. It’s so seasonal and so simple you’ll love it. The men in my life wouldn’t even let it cool before they dove in; the (homemade, anything else is just a sin) whipped cream was melting all over the top. I prefer it a little more room temp but either way, it’s pretty delicious. Here’s the recipe.

Beauty & The Butcher’s Pumpkin Pie

INGREDIENTS

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 can organic pumpkin (make sure you get plain pumpkin not pumpkin pie mix that has all kinds of seasonings already in it)
  • 1 can evaporated milk
  • 1 unbaked pie crust (I like to use Pilsbury pie dough and form in it in the pan myself but you could use a pre-baked pie shell, ooh graham cracker might even be good!)
  • Whipped cream (I’d say OPTIONAL but it’s really not, what’s pumpkin pie without FRESH whipped cream?! If you’ve never made your own it’s very simple, just mix about 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream with 1/3 cup powdered sugar and with a whisk attachment beat the daylights out of it until it’s firm and full of little peaks. But don’t over mix, that’s how you get butter!)

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Beat eggs in large bowl. Stir in pumpkin, sugar, and spices. Gradually stir in evaporated milk.
  • Pour into pie shell.
  • Bake in preheated 425° F oven for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350°F; then bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 2 hours (or two minutes in my house) Serve immediately or refrigerate. Top with whipped cream before devouring…er, serving. 

I’m going to be honest, yours might not taste quite as good as mine unless you also have an heirloom pumpkin pie dish and a crate & barrel plate that says “easy as pie” to serve it on. But you can certainly try! 

feminine flamingo  

 
Feeling like a beautiful pink flamingo in my pink swing top on this lovely Florida afternoon.  Like my earrings? Thanks eBay!
 
My new Ava & Viv jeans are so comfy and I don’t mind a little bit of a distressed “boyfriend” look when the holes are intentional and strategically placed.  
  These St. John’s Bay wedges from JCPenney are a summer essential and are a perfect step up from flip flops for dinner out.  
 
Last but not least, and speaking of flamingos, I am LOVING my new bright pink bag from Target

September calling…

It’s September! Not quite fall here in Florida but the excitement of falling leaves and mulled spices is definitely in the air. I feel like Meg Ryan in You’ve got Mail as she saysstrolling through the leaf covered streets of Chelsea past pumpkin window displays and children drinking apple cider, “Don’t you love New York in the fall? It makes me want to buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address.”

So to celebrate, and since I can’t send you all pencil bouquets, I made you a wallpaper for your phone! Simple save the image below and set it as your wallpaper, lock screen, or both! Maybe if you like it, I’ll make one every month! Now I’m off to go buy some clearanced school supplies! 

 

Pretty in Pink, the final chapter…

This week I have featured two takes on styling a tulle skirt, or adult tutu. A classic look and a vintage look. Today’s look? A modern twist on the tutu. 
  
You know I love a good statement necklace, and I’ve been finding some great inexpensive ones on eBay lately. The one I’m wearing can be found here

Who says leopard can’t be a neutral?! I’ve had this pair of velvet leopard heels forever but you can find a similar pair here 
Pink lips are one of my favorite looks and I am currently obsessed with this Stila All Day Liquid Lipstick in the Bella shade. 
   
And of course, my lovely tutu is from the Jessica Kane collection on Cool Gal Blue and I paired it with a soft chambray shirt from Target’s plus size line, Ava & Viv. 

Sweet Sprouts

“Brussels sprouts?! Yuck!” 

Those were my sentiments, as I’m sure most of yours as well, towards brussel sprouts as a child. Actually, to be honest, those feelings took me pretty far into adulthood as well. But as I have learned in my culinary journey, anything can be good if seasoned and prepared well. (Not saying my mother didn’t prepare them well, I’m sure her’s were delicious. I just wasn’t willing to give them a fair chance at the time because, well, they were brussel sprouts people!) 

First of all, can we just talk about the fact that they are actually called “Brussels Sprouts” and not “Brussel Sprouts”?! Who knew about that extra “s” at the end?! Not me, my friend, not me. World rocked. 

Members of the cabbage family, production of Brussels sprouts in the United States began in the 18th century, when French settlers brought them to Louisiana. Their highest producer to date is the Netherlands, where they’re probably served alongside raw herring or something different like that. Isn’t different such a nicer word than weird? Although now I’ve gone and said weird anyway, so you still know that was my initial word…I digress. 

These little cruciferous veggies help lower cholesterol, prevent cancer, and aid proper thyroid function. So basically, as usual, your mom was right; eat your vegetables! 

So, Mom, I hope you’re happy. Here’s a Brussels sprouts recipe that even kids will love, because they’re sweet, tangy, and crunchy and almost make you forget you’re eating veggie! I said almost, I’m not a magician….

  

Beauty & The Butcher’s Sweet Sprouts

Ingredients

  • 1½ lbs brussels sprouts, halved
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • ¾ tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar or 1 tbs balsamic glaze if you have it (trader joe’s makes an excellent one)
  • 2 tsp honey

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 425°.
  • Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil or use a silicone baking mat.
  • In a large bowl, toss brussels sprouts with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, kosher salt and black pepper to coat thoroughly.
  • Transfer the brussels sprouts to baking sheet and roast until tender and caramelized, about 20 minutes. Don’t freak out if some of the leaves get a little burnt, those crispy bits are the best part!
  • Place brussels sprouts back in bowl. Add remaining tablespoon olive oil, balsamic vinegar and honey and toss to coat evenly. Taste and season with kosher salt if necessary and serve. Or at least try, I set mine to cool on the stovetop and most of them were gone by the time dinner was ready…

I paired them with my famous (in our house at least) turkey meatloaf and creamy goat cheese polenta! But that’s anothef post for another day… 

Pretty in Pink Continued…

Earlier this week I featured a “classic” look using my Cool Gal Blue tulle skirt with a promise of two more looks to come. Today’s look is the tutu styled with a vintage look or, as the butcher call it, your Audrey Hepburn look. I’ll take it!  

 

Thanks to the inspiration of one of my favorite fabulous Plus Size bloggers, Tanesha Awasthi from girlwithcurves.com, I found this adorable bow top from Forever 21’s plus size line. The quality and feel of the shirt is very good in comparison to some of their other pieces and you can’t beat the price!  

  

This alligator leather envelope clutch belonged to my great grandmother. It still had a compact mirror and a 1942 calendar inside when I received it. It’s probably one of my most prized accessories.
    

One of my favorite beach hats, bought years ago at Kohls, just stood out to me as I gathered my accessories for this shoot. I thought it might add a nice flair to the outfit but I was still unsure about wearing it. When my two photographers from Copper & Co. Photography saw it, they said I just had to wear it. So I did! 

 This bow belt has also been in my closet for years but when I got this top I guess I went a little bow crazy and just had to pair the two together! Side note, I love the way the gold is reflecting off the light of the room. Photography is so cool.  
Twirl honey, twirl! So there you have it, my “vintage” inspired way to style a tulle skirt. Stay tuned later this week for the third and final installation, with a modern twist to styling a tutu. 

Crazy for the Caprese! 

  
For many of you, summer is almost over. Hopefully though you still have a few remnants remaining, namely, tomatoes and fresh basil. Let’s put them to good use!

To me there is no salad more refreshing than a traditional Caprese. Italians call it “Insalata Caprese”, meaning “Salad of Capri” and it’s a simple salad, made of sliced fresh mozzarella, seasonal tomatoes and basil, seasoned with salt, and olive oil. It was made to resemble the colors of the Italian flag: red, white, and green. In Italy, it is usually served as an antipasto (starter), not a contorno (side dish) like most salads. 

You can serve it in domino layers on a platter or make a little tower like I’ve don’t in the picture. For extra flavor, I like to drizzle it with balsamic vinegar or better yet, a balsamic glaze {made from reducing the vinegar over heat until it thickens and becomes slightly sweeter}. Mangia!