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! 

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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. 

Five of my Favorite Things 

Last week’s “Favorite Things” was a big hit so I decided to try and make it a weekly thing. So, with the risk of sounding like Andy Cohen, here’s five things I’m obsessed with this week… 

 Little Golden Book: The Color Kittens…SO excited when I found this, it was an absolute favorite of mine as a child, now it can be yours too! Can’t wait to read it to the girls. Find your copy here 

Bose Soundlink Bluetooth Speaker…this little colorful gem is a powerhouse of sound in a cute tiny package. It’s been great for summer nights on the patio! Get yours here 

Amope Pedi Perfect Electronic Pedicure Foot File and Callus Remover…this thing is amazing! It has cured my dry heels for good and doesn’t hurt or tickle! Sold here 
Mini Red Colander…these baby comes in all different colors and at only $1.99 a piece, you can get them all! Unfortunately they aren’t sold online but it’s worth the trip to your nearest World Market!

SMASHBOX Iconic Photo Finish Foundation Primer…this stuff works wonders, it gives you a smooth matte finish under your makeup without feeling greasy or heavy and it’s perfect for weddings or other occasions where you need your makeup to really last! Sold here 


Thrifter’s Delight

  
If your “good old days” included a hula hoop, a Beetle and The Beatles—or you just wish you lived during those “mod” years, then my most recent thrifted treasure will make you smile and nod with nostalgia. You’ve no doubt seen these iconic serving pieces but may not know that the line is called Blendo and was manufactured during the 1950s and ‘60s by the West Virginia Specialty Glass Company of Weston, West Virginia. There’s even a glass museum there, as the town apparently was well known for its glassware. The website for the museum says they only have one employee and I can just picture a little old lady, with glasses on the tip of her nose, sitting at the desk waiting for people to come in, meticulously dusting all of the beautiful glassware, probably full of knowledge that she doesn’t get to share as often as she’d like. Maybe I’ll go visit her sometime…although truthfully West Virginia isn’t high on my destination list, but hey, you never know. 

Blendo glassware was a staple at summer barbecues during the era, with its cheerful “frosted” colors and sturdy feel, reflecting a time when rock music reigned, rockets were racing to the moon, and women wore pearls and gloves just to go to the market. Sigh, I really was born in the wrong decade. 

The style is characterized by a bright neon/pastel solid base that fades as it goes up the glass and a gold rim. The Blendo line was at the peak of its production mid-century and came in a wide variety of colors and sets: juice, water/lemonade and cocktail pitchers and glasses, and serving ware (salad bowls and dishes, chip-and-dip trays, oil and vinegar cruets, and salt and pepper shakers). The serving pieces were popular wedding gifts at the time. As the cocktail era, recreated today on the TV series “Mad Men,” boomed, so did the sales of Blendo. I’m sure the release of such shows have also increased the popularity of these now vintage pieces. But I liked Blendo long before Mad Men, my first pieces were a gift from my, at the time, soon to be mother-in-law before our wedding, they had belonged to her mother-in-law.

Over the years I’ve collected a few different styles, the unique pitchers are my favorite. 


But this past week I stumbled upon my most favorite set yet. Browsing a small thrift shop a few towns over, I spotted it from across the room and squealed with delight (literally squealed-people were looking) when I saw the price tag, $3 for the entire set! I couldn’t believe it, especially since I know for a fact that a set like this sells for $80-$100 online, so I high tailed it out of there with my treasure before the shop owner changed her mind! Behold the beauty… 

 Doesn’t it just make you thirsty looking at it? Lemonade, mojitos, gin & tonics, the list goes on and on…

  It was a beautiful addition to my collection, and now I just need some little martini glasses to go with my lonely green martini pitcher, a gift from my dear friend Brienne who is always on the lookout for vintage finds and often thinks of me while doing so. They look like this just in case you’re wondering…    

Now who’s ready for a cocktail?!

Can’t say I never won anything…

Hey remember that time I was nominated for……(drumroll…don’t you wish you had a permanent drummer following you around in life solely for drumroll purposes?! Maybe I’ll just buy the sound effect on iTunes, that’s probably a little more cost effective…) an AWARD?! I was nominated by the lovely Styletterie for a Liebster Award! (follow and read her blog, she’s wonderfully witty and says all sorts of funny British words that make me giggle)

I was looking through some old blog posts and came upon this one, which was actually one of my most favorites. Even though I wrote it 19 months ago, I truly believe I would still answer the questions in the exact same way so I guess that’s good, like I’m officially comfortable in my own skin? So in case you didn’t read it then, you can now! Here goes…

This award recognizes new bloggers with less than 200 followers that are super duper cool (I added that last part) and gets the word out there to read their blog! I am truly honored and feel like Travis Birkenstock from Clueless right now so… “I’d first like to thank my parents, for never giving me a ride to school, the LA city bus driver for taking a chance on an unknown kid”…..you get the point. But seriously this is pretty cool, (cue daydreams of getting so many followers that I get offered a book deal, then a movie deal, and subsequently become the next Nancy Meyers, my screenplay heroine…and have a house like Diane Keaton’s in “Something’s gotta give”) so here goes nothin’…

 Rules

1. Acknowledge the blogger who nominated you and display the award.

2. Answer eleven questions the blogger gives you.

3. Give eleven random facts about yourself

Here are the questions I was assigned and my answers to them.

-What is the meaning of life? (Ok, that one’s optional) she said it was optional, I’m not touching that one for fear of sparking unwanted debates.

– What was your best ever holiday and why? Ok my nominator (is that a word, sounds kind of like the terminator?…) is from London so I’m guessing by holiday she means vacation and the answer to that is a bit cliche and I have a feeling you aren’t going to love. It’s not really a specific place for one, because I haven’t been anywhere especially spectacular as of yet, and secondly because (and this is the honest truth) anywhere I’ve gone with my husband is always my favorite holiday. We have so much fun together and enjoy ourselves immensely wether we’re touring New York City, swimming in the ocean, or waiting in endless lines at Disney World, it’s always the best time. So there, that’s my answer and it’s my blog so hmph.

– Who is your style icon? Ooh this is hard! I don’t know that I necessarily have one person to whose style I look, I mean I’ve always had a vintage flair and love Audrey Hepburn, Jackie-O, and such. If I could live in the movie “Funny Face” I would. Also I’d have to say my mother. For as long as I can remember the woman has never left the house without lipstick, NEVER has chipped nails, always smells lovely, and is perfectly coordinated from head to toe no matter what the occasion. She also taught me that no matter what your size you can look good. And that you can never have too much jewelry…which is why I steal hers on a regular basis. 

   

 
What do you want to be when you grow up? A mommy.

– How did you choose the name for your blog? I love a play on words and wanted something “kitschy”. My husband is a real live butcher and so it just kind of came to me. Sorry it’s not a better story!

– Favourite TV show and ultimate TV crush? I think as a kid I was utterly in love with Zach Morris (I shouldn’t have to tell you what show he was on) and Wesley Crusher from the one and only Star Trek Next Generation. Nowadays I can’t get enough of the new Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, I love a man who can make me laugh. That’s why I married my husband!  

 

– What song do you listen to when you need cheering up? Anything by Jewel. Baha just kidding. Honestly? Disney songs. Seriously. There’s something about belting out “look at this stuff, isn’t it neat, wouldn’t ya think my collections complete?” that instantly puts a smile on your face and a song in your heart. Or something cheesy like that.
– What are you most proud of ? My husband. I’m proud of the wonderful man he has become despite adversity and the happy, comfortable, loving home we have made together. I’m also proud of my mad hostess skills.

– Place you’d most like to visit? Really anywhere in Europe is fine with me. But not like touristy Europe, I want to find a little village in Italy, Spain, or Greece, rent a villa for a month and do as the locals do; eat good food, take naps, soak in the culture, just live.

– Do you speak any other languages? Eh, yes and no. I took Spanish for five years and used to be pretty darn fluent. But alas, my profé would be triste (see I still retained a little) to hear that I’ve lost most of it. I can decipher when guys are talking about me in Walmart or communicate with the little old guacamole lady at the farmers market so I get by if I need to, but I’m pretty rusty.

– What’s the best fancy dress costume you’ve ever done? When I was 8 I was a flower girl in a wedding and a woman my mother was friends with handmade dresses for my sister and I. I felt so fancy getting measured and going for fittings and I’ll never forget the day I saw the final product and got to put it on. This thing had TWELVE layers of fluffy organza in the skirt AND the sleeves, was an explosion of pink, and even had matching fluffy bows on the shoes. 

 That’s me in the bottom left, notice my super awesome lace gloves and socks too?! So I know maybe the answer should have been my wedding dress but…it was this, sorry.

– Coke or Pepsi? (Just kidding! No one likes Pepsi.) Ha! My husband I have this debate often because I agree with the question that really, there is no question. Coke is just better. But the butcher likes Pepsi, what are ya gonna do?

– Favourite Disney movie and heroine? Well first can I just say I love the way Brits spell words like favorite (favourite) and color (colour)? Ok that being said my favorite Disney movie is…Beauty and the Beast. No Little Mermaid. No, Tangled. WHY MUST YOU TORTURE ME SO?! If we’re going off of what movie I watched, sang, and imitated the most (mainly her splashing up on the rocks all dramatically with the water behind her…sorry mom that’s why there was always so much water on the floor when I got out of the tub!) it’d have to be Ariel and the Little Mermaid. But I am NOT happy that I had to choose. 

 

Ok now 11 random facts about myself…

1. I can’t yoyo to save my life. Seriously if you had a gun to my head and said “yoyo or die” I’d be dead.

2. I’m very funny…in my head.

3. My knees bend backwards like an alien, and I’ll probably get arthritis on them because of it.

4. I LOVE glitter. That is all.

5. I’m claustrophobic which is ironic since I shut my sister in the trunk (we were playing hide and seek I thought it’d be funny) when we were little.

6. My middle name is Nanette. It’s Hebrew and means grace.

7. Although it may not be a possibility, I want to be a mother more than anything, but I’m extremely grateful for my beautiful nieces and love them like my own.

8. I HATE beets. Like literally vomit inducing hate, especially when they’re all boiled and slimy.

9. My cheeks get tingly and break out into a cold sweat when I eat peanut butter. But…I keep eating it, what’s wrong with a cold tingly cheek every now and again?

10. I have a scar inside my top lip from running into the corner of a dresser at the daycare I used to go to. I HATED that place with a passion and am still scarred (both physically and emotionally to this day).

11. I married my best friend. It’s pretty cool, you should try it.

That’s it, we’re done? Well that was fun and hopefully gave you some insight into my brain? 

blast from the past…

This week I am taking part in a special school to improve my teaching skills. So since I’ll probably be too busy to blog, I decided to feature some of my very early posts. Can you believe I’ve been doing this for two years?! Today, since I’m hungry, lets bring it back to a post from July of 2013, and for all you vegans out there, simply omit the eggs, sub almond milk, and voila! Vegan rice pudding! Not only that but the almond milk gave it a delicious nutty flavor and even enabled me to cut back on the sugar! You could also get really crazy and use quinoa instead of rice. But no worries, I’m going to give you the tried and true recipe too. Who can resist rice pudding?! 

  Beauty & The Butcher Rice Pudding
Ingredients:

3/4 cup uncooked white rice (I used minute rice)

1 cup half and half

1 cup milk

4 tbs granulated sugar

1 tbs light brown sugar

1/4 tsp salt

2 egg yolks

1 tbs unsalted butter

1/2 tsp vanilla

1/4 tsp cinnamon

Instructions:

Boil rice in a medium saucepan (according to directions on box – mine used 3/4 cup) with granulated sugar and salt until completely done and tender. Pour in half and half + 1/2 cup milk and simmer on low for 20 minutes, stirring every few minutes until thick and creamy. It may look like it’s too much milk and it will never thicken, but it will you just have to wait. Once thickened, Mix in brown sugar. 

In a small bowl add egg yolks. Spoon 3 spoonfuls of the pudding mixture in with the yolks and whisk rapidly to temper and prevent scrambling. Once yolks are warm, add into pudding mixture and add the remaining half cup of milk. Cook for 3-5 minutes more until thickened up again. Once thickened, remove from heat and add in butter, vanilla and cinnamon. If you are making the vegan option your pudding will not be as thick, that’s just what chickens do. 

Pudding can be served warm or cold. Store in airtight container for 3-4 days, but it’ll never last that long! 

queue to my childhood 

Lately, strolling through the “Recently Added” section of Netflix has been like taking a stroll down memory lane through my childhood. Movies I remember watching as a kid like Michael Keaton’s Mr. Mom and the creepy but entertaining David Bowie flick, Labyrinth.  

Classic series like, Dinosaurs (you know, “Not the mama, not the mama”…cue frying pan sounds on the head), and Star Trek Voyager are ever prevalent on there as well. I’m still waiting for the real Star Trek to be on there, STNG, but for know I’ll have to be satisfied with a female captain and an annoying alien bartender who is basically the Star Trek equivalent of Jar Jar Binks… 

  
Typing STNG just caused me to have a major epiphany…for years I saw videotape after videotape in our movie cabinet with labels hand written in my father’s handwriting “STNG” with a year after it. For some reason I always assumed that it said “Sting”. I remember as a kid not being sure what that was…I thought I remembered hearing there was a singer named that and wow, mom and dad must really like him if they have all his concerts on tape…it literally just hit me what the tapes were. They were tapes containing every single episode of Star Trek the Next Generation. Dad’s favorite show, the show we had to leave the room during if we talked too much, meticulously documented by episode,  name, and date. Little did he know there would soon come a time when all shows ever made would be distributed in box sets for your viewing pleasure. Anyway, epiphany epiphanized. Pretty sure that’s not a word…but I digress 

 Then of course there are the movies of my teen years, Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo & Juliet and Clueless…(both of which were released when I was a kid but didn’t attain my full appreciation until my adolescence and years of teen angst) and I can pretty much quote the entire script if each film in verbatim. (A frustrating talent when you have trouble remembering scriptures but yet can somehow recall every word Mike Meyers uttered in So I Married an Axe Murderer)  

 The most recent one I stumbled on is a classic I can’t believe I’ve never seen until now…Girls Just Want to Have Fun!  

 Sarah Jessica Parker, Helen Hunt, pre-teen (and pre-major jerk) Shannon Doherty, dancing, and some major 80’s fashion that has reminded me (combined with my recent trip to Forever 21) that the 80’s are back in a very large and very ugly way. Bodysuits are back?! Striped leggings and acid washed bra tops?! Wha?! Anyway, the movie was made in ’85 (two years after the release of the similarly named Cyndi Lauper tune) which was a particularly good year seeing as how it’s the year I was born! It’s rated PG and thus caused very little cringing which was nice for a change compared to today’s entertainment, just sweet unrequited teenage love and some derelict 80’s punks. This may actually be my most favorite role of Helen Hunt’s; she’s a free spirit with quite the fashion sense. I would also like to point out that it has a lot of similarities to dirty dancing (including the dance move that I guess I’ll call the “air plank”?) but came out two years before so take that Jennifer Grey! Anyway next time you’re cruising Netflix, totally check it out dude, it’s tubular!