Archive for September, 2014

Pumpkin & Spice Simple Syrup

Monday, September 29th, 2014

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There is something comforting about falling leaves in autumn. Soon it will be cold and my usually cup of coffee will be my warmth on chilly mornings. And as the fall rushes in pumpkin treats are a top priority. This pumpkin & spice simple syrup combines sweet pumpkin, brown sugar and fall spices and is perfect in coffee or morning oatmeal. A pumpkiny sweet fall treat to welcome in the fall.

By the way, Happy National Coffee Day!

Pumpkin & Spice Simple Syrup

2 cups water
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tbs. pumpkin pie spice
1/4 cup pumpkin purée

In a saucepan bring water and brown sugar to a boil. Add pumpkin purée, vanilla and spice and reduce heat to low. Simmer syrup for 10 minutes. Strain the syrup through a fine mesh strainer to remove any pulp. Store refrigerated.

As for that Pumpkin Pie Spice…

3 tbs. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. clove

1 tsp. all spice

Combine ingredients and whisk well.

Enjoy!

Apple Picking

Saturday, September 27th, 2014

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Last weekend Michael, Jude and I set out on our 3rd annual adventure to Ellijay, GA to go apple picking. We love the scenic drive and winding roads to the mountains of North Georgia. Reminding us of our autumns in Colorado… Of home. Holding hands with my love and singing silly songs with Jude, I couldn’t think of a better weekend adventure.

We have visited several apple orchards in Ellijay, our favorite continues to be B.J. Reece Orchards. Fresh, warm apple cider doughnuts and apple hand pies are just the start of the festivities. Reece’s small farmer market was full of fresh produce. Jude picked out a large basket of ripe red tomatoes. I couldn’t resist picking up a few mini pumpkins and dried Indian corn to decorate the house. After our bellies were full of treats from the bakery, we headed into the orchard to pick a whole peck of apples, about 10 lbs. Apples picking remains one of my favorite family adventures of the year. Cool crisp air, Jude running free and helping to pick apples that will provide time together cooking in the kitchen. B.J. Reece invites you to ” come and show your kids that apples really do grow on trees!”

On our visit Rome Beauty, Golden Delicious and Granny Smith apples were in season.

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We purchased a gadget that peels, cores and slices apples with a simple turn of the handle. I am in love, each apple turns out like a tasty apple slinky! I brought this fancy contraption to Jude’s preschool where the kids got a chance to peel and slice their own snacks!

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With fall in the air and piles of apples, I will be sharing some of my favorite apple inspired recipes.

Enjoy!

His & Hers Pimento Cheese

Wednesday, September 24th, 2014

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My three favorite Southern foods:
#1. BARBQUE
#2. Fried Pickles
#3. Pimento Cheese

Any Friday morning we can, Michael and I headed over to The Overall Co. in Opelika for made from scratch pimento cheese and bacon cheddar biscuits. And yes… they are as decadent as they sound! Growing up my grandparents always had a tub of pimento cheese in the refrigerator, ready for an easy snack spread on celery. No pimento cheese from a tub nor homemade compares to our favorite, the perfect recipe of the Overall Co. Yet, Michael and I set out on a mission to discover who could come up with the best pimento cheese recipe for our home. We both LOVE to cook. Our idea of a great date is often time spent together in the kitchen. This afternoon was particular fun as we battled for title of Best Pimento Cheese!

The thought of mayonnaise in my food is enough to make me steer clear of trying out any recipe. My recipe was a little more classic, minus the mayo. I substituted cream cheese and added a little garlic for a kick. I love pimento cheese spread on crackers or in the groove of a crips piece of celery, the way my grandma did.

HERS Pimento Cheese

4 oz. sharp white cheddar
4 oz. sharp yellow cheddar
2 oz. pimento peppers, diced
1/4 cup cream cheese
1 clove garlic, grated
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper

Simply add all ingredient to the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, and mix to desired consistency.

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Michael grew loads of jalepenos in our garden this summer… I mean at least 100! He decided he wanted to make a jalapeno popper inspired pimento cheese. Michael loves smoky and spicy flavors and this pimento cheese is just that, so full of flavor.  His favorite way to enjoy pimento cheese is in sandwich form. In restaurants he loves to indulge in pimento cheese biscuits and cheeseburgers.

HIS Pimento Cheese

4 oz. sharp white cheddar
4 oz. sharp yellow cheddar
1/4 cup olive oil mayonaise
1 jalapeno, finely chopped
1 pinch smoked paprika
1 pinch granulated garlic
1 pinch granulated onion
1 pinch white pepper
1 pinch chipotle chili powder
1 slice of cooked bacon, chopped

Again, simply add all ingredient to the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, and mix to desired consistency.

Now you be the judge. Which recipe will you try?

Enjoy!

With just a little needle and thread…

Friday, September 12th, 2014

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My great grandma Ida, she was glamourous. During her younger years, she modeled for several local clothing stores in her small town of Ft. Scott, KS. She sold Avon and owned more costume jewelry then one could ever need. Grandma Ida had the most lovely long nails, always perfectly manicured. She drank Coke out of glass bottles, wore beautiful cameo pins, collected buttons, and always set the table beautifully for even the most simple of suppers. I loved spending lazy afternoons lounging on her silk sheets and helping put rollers in her hair. Often, she would take a little needle and thread and embroider her signature into pieces of clothing. Never a  pattern, never following a design, it was just her and it was ALWAYS elegant.

Ida High School

My beautiful Ida Maude Singmaster

My Grandma Ida Singmaster had her own signature. Instead of the I in her name, she would draw a music note with a little heart for the head. Many times the “I” was all she wrote. Everyone who knew her adored anything touched by that beautiful music note.

So, with just a little needle and thread I thought I would work on my own signature. I picked up a simple pair of canvas shoes from our local craft store and just began to stitch, no pattern, just made with love. They are not perfect but they are me & with each step I take in my new shoes I think of my Ida.

Grilled Cheese BLT

Monday, September 8th, 2014

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Growing up I would beg my older cousin Nick to make me grilled cheese sandwiches. I loved his the best. He was a boys boy; tough, strong, loved to play army and ninja. We never had fancy cheese or fancy bread, just plain old white bread and that tasty cheese you pull out of a plastic wrapper. Nick would butter the pan generously and place the sandwich in the hot pan. He would then use all of his super strength to squish the bread under a spatula until you had the thinnest, gooiest sandwich. I could never get mine that thin! Nick would promise me grilled cheese sandwiches for helping him do his chores, my cryptonite in our superhero world. Although we vowed to never grow up, we did, and I no longer have him around to indulge my cheesy cravings. So, I do my best to recreate his special touch when making sandwiches of my own.

It is the crunch of pressed sandwiches that I love best. Gram & Gramp alway had BLT ingredients ready in the refrigerator for an easy weekend night meal. I loved when my grandma combined the BL&T with my favorite sharp cheddar and substituted baby spinach for the typical iceberg lettuce to make a grilled, pressed sandwich that always leaves me satisfied.

BLT Grilled Cheese

1 thinly sliced tomato

A handful of baby spinach

4 slices sharp cheddar cheese or your favorite cheese

8 slices of bacon

8 slices of bread (I used the multigrain Italian sliced thin from Publix)

EVOO

Salt and Pepper

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Lightly sprinkle tomatoes with salt and pepper. Place a thin layer of tomatoes on your bread.

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Next, cheese. I used sharp cheddar but use your favorite cheese, make it your own.

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Pile on a few baby spinach leaves.

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And my husbands favorite… the BACON.

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Top your sandwich with a second slice of bread and brush with olive oil or butter both sides.

Grill until golden brown and cheese oozes out.

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Enjoy!

Con Panna (Espresso with Cream)

Thursday, September 4th, 2014

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Con panna in Italian means “with cream.” A con panna is made by topping a single or doppio espresso with a dollop of sweet whipped cream.

Every time I drink a con panna, memories of my grandma fill my heart and mind. She would often whip up cold fresh cream, sweeten it with vanilla, confectioners sugar and let me stick my finger directly into the mixing bowl for a taste. She loved whipped cream in her coffee and often she grated fresh nutmeg over the top. What a decadent way to enjoy your morning coffee! She certainty had a way of making even the most simple things in life, special. Beginning my day with a con panna, is a great way to start a morning with happy thoughts. I love to sprinkle a few raw sugar crystals on top of mine to add a little crunch and extra sweetness.

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Whipped Cream

1 cup heavy cream

2 tbs. confectioners (powdered) sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Combine cold cream, sugar and vanilla in a mixing bowl. Using a stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, hand mixer or whisk to beat the cream until stiff peaks are formed. If you are whipping the cream by hand… you will need to be patient. Do not over whip your cream, which should be light and fluffy. Over beating causes the cream to become lumpy, thick and butter like. Fresh whipped cream can be made in minutes and tastes best when used just after preparation or within a few hours.

Serve a couple heaping spoonfuls of whipped cream in your espresso or favorite morning brew.

Enjoy!

Sincerely Yours, Little Surprise

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014

I love giving fun little thoughtful gifts, this is my love language; a silly little something, flowers or even a homemade treat. Everyone finds joy in knowing that they are special, that someone really cares.

Recently, I was surprised with a thoughtful gift from a sweet friend.
A beautiful notebook and set of notecards by May Designs featuring Flying Paper Airplanes.

“Owner and designer, Mica May (of May Designs) has a 4 year old with Down syndrome. He attends an incredible school called the Rise School of Houston. May Designs hosted an event to complete the original Rise School Art Book collection where kids with special needs helped turn plain canvases into beautiful masterpieces (like these)!” One hundred percent of the profits from these children inspired designs goes to the Rise School of Houston.

I couldn’t imagine a sweeter little something. Not only did my friend Sheryl make my day, but she also supported a great cause in doing so.

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Sincerely Yours,

Candice

Flying Paper Airplanes