our full life: week forty six through forty eight

I’m baaaaack y’all!

I apologize for being out of the loop for a few weeks. I guess Thanksgiving took more prep than I thought it was going to. Either way, I’m happy to share with you what our life looked like the past 3 weeks. Please enjoy!

puffsGod provides such joy in the sky above.

tabbyI had trouble getting him to stay still, but S’CUTE!

lake SMLake San Marcos at dusk. Just before going to sushi with a friend.

seaviewOcean view on the way home. Taking in the crazy beautiful sky…again!

brunchIced latte & toast at noon. Just what the doctor ordered.

community projectOur Community Group served a park in Carlsbad a few weeks ago by planting & beautifying. Also, some of the men built fences. ūüėČ

RV CupcakeI had a gift certificate for a cupcake that was about to expire. RED VELVET!

sourBret made me a freshly squeezed whiskey sour while I made my DIY “Give Thanks” banner. I thought it was appropriate…and quite tasty.

CUTS practiceMusic men. Creating sets and making my ears glad.

the sauceCranberry-Pear sauce. My personal additions: lemon peel and a cinnamon stick.

the tableThe Thanksgiving Table. It was so fun to host this year and open our home! And the food was delicious!

fall saladFor example: A fall salad with homemade maple-mustard vinaigrette, homemade maple candied roasted pecans, gorgonzola, dried cherries & cranberries, and honeycrisp apples!

thanksgiving asparagusRoasted (and quite steamy) asparagus in a buttery-herby-garlicly sauce.

the birdAnd TURKEY! Brined for 24 hours then roasted while being basted with a lemon, olive oil, garlic, rosemary, butter sauce. We’re loving all the leftovers we got too!

the centerpieceWe had more food…but I only pictured a few dishes and just enjoyed the rest – like homemade white wine gravy, buttermilk biscuits, and more!

best everThe day after Thanksgiving, Bret and I had a mini “vacation” down in San Diego. We had to hit up one of our favorite places¬†for lunch.

little houseWhen I see little shacks like this one, I envision the “first house” Bret and I might enjoy one day. We both love simple and small…we shall see!

balboaBalboa Park for stunning views and beautiful weather.

planesWe enjoyed seeing planes fly overhead and the jet stream rushing through the trees!

relaxI felt like I was in a storybook. It was lovely to relax with Bret here.

marshmallow tutus¬†Marshmallows in tutus at a sweet 3 year olds b-day. ‚̧

cleaning dayBack to work today. Cleaning away and listing to APJ podcast. Now on to DECEMBER!

Hope you are getting ready for CHRISTMAS! Thanks for reading.

xo sarah

thanksgiving in february

Until a few days ago, I had never made a Thanksgiving dinner or roasted my own turkey. Roast chicken, definitely. Roast pork, you bet. Roast eggplants, mmm-hmm!¬†Roast turkey…no way Jose.

However, when Thanksgiving was over last November, I made sure to buy a turkey once they went on sale. I was determined to rise to the challenge and make an amazing bird. I was also determined to pay a fraction of the price and have leftovers for weeks. So, I did it! I finally took that frozen bird out of my tiny freezer and made it happen. I roasted a 26 pound turkey and made other Thanksgiving fixings with the help of Pioneer Woman, Bon Apetit, and Silver Palate Cookbook.

Please excuse the lighting in these pictures. When it’s the first time you’re making a thanksgiving meal, and your husband has an evening band practice, it means you can’t even eat the meal until 9pm. This is real life.TIF 2Here was our long-awaited Thanksgiving in February! Orange-Rosemary Butter Roasted Turkey, Homemade Giblet Gravy, Creamy Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Orange-Roasted Carrots, Savory Autumn Salad, and from-scratch Buttermilk Biscuits.

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Orange-Rosemary Butter Roasted Turkey: 1 stick of unsalted butter combined with 3 springs of rosemary, the zest of one orange, and salt and pepper goes under the skin the night before. I also rubbed the outside and inside of the turkey with generous amounts of salt and pepper, and stuffed the bird with oranges and lemons. Then, the same butter combination goes over the turkey halfway through the roasting process. It took me about 6 hours of roasting and 5 basting baths to finish this 26 pounder. And, boy, it was worth it.

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Homemade Giblet Gravy: Pretty simple. Yummy turkey drippings, flour, chicken broth, and as much cooked chopped giblets as you prefer. Plus, LOTS of black pepper. But make sure you do your gravy at the very last moment possible. this will ensure the perfect consistency. I did mine too early in the night and it thickened too much. The amazing taste doesn’t change though!

Creamy Garlic Mashed Potatoes: I peeled and boiled a few pounds of russet potatoes. Then I drained them and threw them in my Kitchen-aid mixer with some buttermilk, cream cheese, butter, granulated garlic, salt and black pepper until fluffy.

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Orange-Roasted Carrots: Minced orange peel, honey, good olive oil, pepper, granulated garlic, and sea salt flakes. All those ingredients go on your peeled chopped carrots and are roasted until caramelized and cooked through.

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Savory Autumn Salad: Romaine, cherry tomatoes, oven-roasted pumpkin, roasted seasoned pumpkin seeds, and mozzarella. Served with a lemon herb vinaigrette.

Buttermilk Biscuits: I can’t give away my secret here…but¬†Martha Stewart¬†deserves most of the credit. These biscuits are glorious.

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Yes, it was delicious. Yes, it took ALL day. Yes, it was totally worth it. Yes, you should give it a try for yourself. Make it your own. Take it to the next level! And enjoy!

Please email me if you want full recipes of anything.

xo sarah

our full life: week five

Here’s was what our past full week looked like:

roasted pumpkinRoasted pumpkin with EVOO, S&P, and paprika. I also roasted the seeds on another baking sheet with the same oil and spices. Both are amazing in salads.

brinnerBad lighting…but when Bret is gone for dinner I always make eggs. Breakfast for dinner is not really his thing.

lulubugThe answer is yes. She is the most adorable girl you’ve ever seen.

lovely ladiesSweet love between mother and daughter. I am so glad I captured this.

hawaiihomeBret’s parents rearranged their Hawaiian art work and I really love it!

snack timeFriday snack of pretzels, Nutella, and honey iced chai.

staff stoneStaff get-together at Stone Brewery. I loved my beer…whatever it was called. It was a much appreciated blessing for us.

fruit juicing Prepping lime and pineapple juice for a possible recipe for you all!

turkey 1Post coming at you this week: Thanksgiving in February! Here is Bret carving our turkey (with the help of Pioneer Woman) and drinking a pumpkin ale. He is so good.

I hope this week is a blessing and one that points you back to your beloved Creator.

xo sarah

holiday nuts {savory & sweet}

If you are looking for a delicious and healthy snack to either put out at your next party or give someone for the holidays, look no further. These holiday nuts are packed with flavor paired with the perfect mix-ins of your choice.

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These holiday nuts are great because you can just have FUN! There is no limits to the combinations you can put together. My recommendation is to make the recipe your own and take all the credit. For reference, I will share with you the combinations I did. SAVORY: Garlic-Herb spices, almonds, cashews & sunflower seeds. SWEET: Cinnamon-Sugar, almonds, cashews, shredded coconut & dried cranberries

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups raw unsalted nuts, such as: macadamias, peanuts, almonds, cashews, pistachios, pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts, etc.
  • 1 1/2 cups of mix-ins, such as: chex cereal, popcorn, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, pretzels, corn nuts, etc.
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 large egg white
  • Spice blend of your choice (2 provided below)
  • 1 cup of any other mix-ins you desire, such as: raisins, dried cranberries, coconut flakes, banana chips, dried chiles, dried papaya, etc.

Ingredients for SAVORY spice blend {garlic-herb}:

  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper, 1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, 1 1/2 tsp. granulated garlic, 1¬†Tbsp. rosemary, 1 Tbsp. sage, and 1 Tbsp. thyme

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Ingredients for SWEET spice blend {cinnamon-sugar}:

  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg, 1/2 tsp. ground ginger, 1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, 6 Tbsp. granulated sugar

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Directions: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Brush a rimmed baking sheet with olive oil.
  2. Prepare your spice blend in a small bowl. (Use above recipe or make your own!)
  3. In a large bowl, whisk the egg white until frothy. Add in the nuts, the mix-ins, and prepared spice blend. Toss together until everything is well coated.
  4. Spread the nut mixture on to prepared baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes. Open oven and stir once or twice throughout the baking process.
  5. Let the nut mixture cool on the baking sheet and then transfer to an air-tight container until ready to serve. ENJOY!!!

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Your holiday guests will love these!

xo sarah

oatmeal ginger pumpkin cookies

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When I was a little girl, my Nannie always had sweetened dried fruit in her home. Dried banana chips, papaya, pineapple, apricots, and ALWAYS ginger. I love remembering things like that about her. Now, you could have probably guessed it, but when I was younger I really disliked ginger (with exception to ginger-snap cookies). I wasn’t fond of the texture or the spicy-sweetness.

Now that I am older and my pallet has seen more of this incredible culinary world we live in, I absolutely love ginger. It’s spicy, sweet, and very refreshing. Ginger can calm a nauseous stomach and it provides great health benefits. I have recently started drinking pure ginger tea and it’s very soothing.¬†I even like to ask for extra of that delicious pickled ginger they serve at sushi restaurants. Yum!

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All that to say, if you like ginger, you will love these cookies. They also have all the great elements of a fall treat: pumpkin, cinnamon, oats, and brown sugar. Adding the crystalized ginger is something I just thought up, and it was a real success.

Ingredients: 

  • 1 stick of unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 2/3 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 3 cups quick-cooking oats
  • 2/3 cup chopped crystalized ginger (I added a whole cup, but I am a little ginger obsessed.)

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Directions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Preparing your wet ingredients: Cream together butter and both sugars until fluffy. Add the egg and beat thoroughly. Next, add in the vanilla extract and pumpkin and mix until well combined.
  3. Preparing your dry ingredients: In a separate medium sized bowl, sift together the flour, ground cinnamon, ground ginger, and baking soda. Add to the pumpkin mixture and mix well.
  4. Dice your crystalized ginger into small pieces (the size of raisins). Add the oats and crystalized ginger to the pumpkin mixture and mix until well incorporated.
  5. Take a small spoon and form the cookie dough into cookies on prepared cookie sheets. Bake in oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown edges and tops form.
  6. ENJOY!!! Make sure you share them with friends and family.

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* Makes about 30 cookies. You could even reserve some dough and freeze it for another day. These cookies are best once they have cooled down a bit.

Thanks for reading, friends. Happy Saturday!

xo sarah

honeycrisp apple spice ice cream

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Honeycrisp apples are my husband’s favorite apples. Ice cream is my favorite dessert. Honeycrisp apples IN ice cream had to happen sooner or later! It really helped that our local farmers market had a huge sale on honeycrisp apples…and let’s just say we went a little crazy.

Honeycrisp apples are known for their “sweet taste and distinct juciness” with an “explosive crunchiness.” My husband says, “It’s the perfect apple to hold in your hand and destroy with your mouth.” WOW! And because honeycrisp apples really are that good, they are what make this ice cream out of control.

For ice cream, I trust my friend Nicole. She really knows what she is talking about and she had the perfect recipe for me to go off of! Please enjoy this ice cream curled up on the couch with your favorite person and a good movie. Sounds like a great date night in to me!HAS 4

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Ingredients for Honeycrisp Apples:

  • 2 large honeycrisp apples – peeled, cored, and cut into small chunks (2 cups)
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest
  • 1/8 tsp. salt

Ingredients for Ice Cream:

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 tsp. cornstarch
  • 3 Tbsp. cream cheese, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup garnulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons agave
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/8 tsp. kosher salt

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Directions:

  1. Prepare and measure your ingredients for the spiced apples. Combine into a medium saucepan. Cook the apples over medium heat, stirring often, until the apples are tender (about 10 min.). Let the apples cool a bit and then place them in the fridge to chill.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, (I used my Kitchenaid mixer), whisk the cream cheese with whisk attachment, until smooth.
  3. In another large bowl, fill with cool water and ice. Set aside.
  4. In a small bowl, mix 2 Tbsp. of the milk with the cornstarch until smooth. Set aside.
  5. In a large saucepan, combine the remaining milk with the cream, granulated sugar, agave nectar, and vanilla. Bring the milk mixture to a boil and cook over moderate heat for 2-4 minutes until the sugar dissolves.
  6. Once the sugar is dissolved, remove the saucepan from the heat and slowly whisk in the cornstarch mixture. Return the saucepan to the heat and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to medium high and cook unitl mixture is slightly thickened.
  7. Slowly whisk the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese until well incorporated and smooth. Whisk in the salt.
  8. Set the bowl in the large bowl of ice water and let stand, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes.
  9. Pour the ice cream mixture into an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Add the chilled spiced honeycrisp apples during the last minute of churning.
  10. Pour into an airtight container and freeze for at least 3 hours before consuming. ENJOY!!!

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This ice cream is rich and, at the same time, refreshing. I decided to drizzle some caramel sauce on top…good decision. Whipped cream or chopped walnuts would also be a perfect pairing.

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Enjoy a bowl of Honeycrisp Apple Spice Ice Cream with family and friends this Thanksgiving! It would be great alongside the pumpkin pie. And blessings to you and yours during this sweet fall season.

xo sarah

pumpkin spice coffee cake

Fall in Southern California isn’t exactly what you would expect. Today is November 14th and it’s supposed to be 80 degrees outside!¬†If I could have any season last all year long, it would definitely be summer, so don’t get me wrong…I’m more than pleased. BUT at the same exact time, all I want to do is wear a beanie and my black jeans with a cozy scarf.

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I also want to eat all things squash, pumpkin, and apple. This week I made a few recipes to satisfy my cravings, but today I am sharing the easiest and best for hospitality.

Pumpkin Spice Coffee Cake with Streusel Topping. YUM.PSCC 2

Honestly YUM¬†really inspired me, so I made their recipe and tweaked it just a bit. I also brought it to my Church Community Group the other night and everyone really loved it. It’s not overly sweet so it works for breakfast or dessert! It goes so well with a cup of coffee (shocker) or black tea. I also really liked that it got me into the fall season, even if the weather is not matching up quite yet.

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Ingredients for Cake:

  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup of firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup of pumpkin puree
  • 3/4 cup of sour cream

Ingredients for Streusel:

  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • 5 tablespoons of unsalted butter, melted
  • 3/4 cups of all-purpose flour

Directions: 

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 inch bread pan and line with parchment paper.
  2. Start by making the cake. Sift the first 7 dry ingredients together in a bowl and mix well. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and brown sugar.  Beat in the eggs, one at a time.
  4. Mix in the pumpkin puree and sour cream until well combined. Make sure the mixture is incorporating well and scrape down the sides of the bowl if needed.
  5. Slowly incorporate the flour mixture on the lowest speed until well combined.
  6. In a separate bowl, make the streusel. Mix the sugar, flour, spices, and salt in a bowl. Pour the melted butter over the sugar mixture. Combine the melted butter and sugar mixture with your hands.
  7.  When it is well combined, you will be able to pack it tightly into the bottom of the bowl. Then crumble it into pieces over the top of the cake batter.
  8. Bake your coffee cake for 50 minutes. Insert a toothpick and if it comes out clean, it’s done. ENJOY!

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Bring this delicious coffee cake to your next fall party, girls night, to the office, or even Thanksgiving! You will get all kinds of compliments. How sweet is that!

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I hope you have a splendid fall and enjoy this coffee cake time and time again. I know my family will.

xo sarah

homemade apple pie {baking with girls I love}

About a month ago, I made my first Homemade Apple Pie. I will be making this recipe again, and again, and AGAIN!

In the past, I have baked quite a few frozen pies and the first homemade berry pie I attempted was a complete disaster. So…let’s just say I was a bit intimidated by pie. I couldn’t yet comprehend the saying, “easy as pie.”

Thankfully, I had some amazing girls by my side to help me through the whole process. My sister, Sarah, and my best friend, Jocelyn, came over for a baking day! Spending time chatting, laughing, and learning the skill of pie making together is something I will not soon forget. To top it off, we had some delectable Apple Brownies to snack on with a warm mug of Pumpkin Spice Rooibos Tea that Sarah brought me.

And as far as baking, we not only made the most delicious Homemade Apple Pie, but I also made Apple Peel Twigs with all our leftover apple skins. It was APPLES for DAYS in our home!

HOMEMADE APPLE PIE

This apple pie is loaded with all that fall flavor you love! It is just the right amount of sweet, tart, and crisp. The filing held together perfectly and the crust was firm yet flaky. And because this recipe is so simple, please feel free to make it your own!!

Ingredients:

CRUST

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks of cold unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1/3 cup of ice water
  • 1 9 inch glass pie plate

FILLING

  • 6 (2 1/2 lbs.) apples of your choice (I used Granny Smith)
  • 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. ground all-spice
  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cubed

Directions:

1. CRUST: ( I like to make my dough 1 day ahead of time) Combine flour, salt, and butter in a large mixing bowl. Using your palms, fingers and thumbs, press the butter and flour together until there are no more large clumps of butter left (this can take a few minutes). Once your mixture has a smooth consistency, gradually stir in the ice water until the mixture holds together well (if the dough it is still cracking or crumbling apart you can add 1 Tbsp. of ice water at a time until it firms up).

2. CRUST: Lightly flour a surface and place your mixture onto that surface. You can now form it into one large ball of pie dough. Take your large ball of pie dough and separate it into two small and even-sized discs. Wrap those discs in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour or up to 2 days.

3. FILLING: Core and peel your apples (save your apple skins to make Apple Peel Twigs). Thinly slice your apples lengthwise. Combine apples, spices, flour and sugar in a large bowl. Mix well until your apples are evenly coated.

4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Once your pie dough discs have been refrigerated, you can begin to work with them. On a lightly floured surface, roll your your first pie dough disc to the right size. Fit and place your dough in the pie plate (save extra dough for decorating the top of your pie). Pour the apple filling into your pie shell and dot the top with the small cubes of butter.

5. On a lightly floured surface, roll out your second pie dough disc slightly larger than the size of your pie plate. Place on top of your apples and fold any excess dough under the edges of your bottom pie shell. To seal your pie, use the edges of a fork (floured) and press down slightly. Prick the top of your pie a few times to allow for airflow while baking.

Suggestion: Use any excess dough you might have to decorate the top of your pie with letters, leaves, hearts, snowflakes, etc. Also, to make your pie have a more golden and shiny glow, brush the top with a little egg wash and a sprinkle of sugar.

6. Bake your pie for 1 hour (give or take 5 minutes depending on your oven). Look for a golden brown color and a bubbling filling. Make sure you let your pie cool completely before serving. ENJOY! We sure did.

APPLE PEEL TWIGS

These Apple Peel Twigs are a healthy and sweet snack for any time of day. I like to add a little bit of everything, so don’t feel like you need to follow this recipe exactly.

Ingredients:

  • Apple peels from 12-18 apples (preferably organic)
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. all-spice
  • A healthy drizzle of clover honey or agave nectar

Directions:

1. In a large bowl, toss apple peels with all ingredients. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.

2. Spread prepared apple peels in a thin layer over 2 parchment-lined cookie sheets.

3. Bake at 250 degree F for 2.5 hours. Rotate cookie sheets after the first half. Let cool before consuming.

Enjoy these apple recipes together with friends, family, and community! Maybe a new Thanksgiving Day tradition!

xo sarah

* I was inspired by Martha Stewart Magazine, September Issue, for these fantastic apple recipes!