Tag Archives: fall

Good Bad Good

 

Happy Monday, friends! How was everyone’s weekend? I had quite the busy weekend and some of you may have seen the evidence of that from my Instagram, which was overflowing with pics all weekend long!

The weekend started out great by having Friday off to drive up to the northern mitten for a friend’s wedding. Me and Amber left early Friday morning (after a quick pitstop at Tarjay to get some accessories) and then made the 4 1/2 hour trip up to Charlevoix, MI!

The weather was anything but pretty: gray, gloomy and rainy. BUT with the right company, any road trip is fun. DJ Amber kept the tunes upbeat (and threw back to the 90s quite a bit – WIN!) and it made the drive enjoyable and fun. We reached Charlevoix, which is exactly what the photo says: quaint. It’s old money so the houses are lavish, there aren’t many people, and I think really, it’s where people from down state go visit over the summer. Regardless, it’s a cute town. We met up with two of Amber’s friends, who were also invited to the wedding (she and one of the girls work with the bride) and got a quick bite to eat. Then we set off to get ready for the big event!

We beautified ourselves while watching Ellen and sipping some woodsy vino, then did what every girl does: take 9374893 photos of each other and got to the hall via complimentary shuttle bus!

We met up with the other girls, who by the way, are two of the craziest  most fun girls ever! But they went to State, so it’s pretty much a given, right? ;)

The wedding was beautiful! Our friend Sarah looked absolutely stunning and the ceremony was short, simple and to the point: my kind of wedding! It was meaningful and you can tell all the cute details Sarah put into the entire day!

The reception was a lot of fun. Then again, any wedding with open bar is deemed fun in my book. The pair provided a photobooth, which ended up being our favorite thing to do after a few drinks were thrown back. But really, it was just a good time with fun girls dancing, drinking and seeing how happy the newly married couple were! <3 Gah, I get so emotional and giddy about weddings!

Congrats Sarah and Doug! We’re all so happy for you both and wish you endless years of love and happiness! Thanks for letting me be part of your special day! xoxo

So the next day, slightly hungover and filled up on coffee and carbs, we headed back to A2. We got home in time for the Michigan State-UM game at 3:30. I don’t need to go into details of this game. kthx.

It was, hands down, one of the worst games played on both teams parts.  Mostly, I want to forget it ever happened. This just isn’t Michigan State’s year and it shows. Badly. But the day wasn’t a total wash. I drowned my sorrows with a full DVR to catch up on: Project Runway finale, Top Model and the weekly Greys episode! Then I headed over to Amber and Richard’s to watch Insidious. The movie scared the living daylights out of me and re-affirmed my belief that I shouldn’t have kids.

The weekend ended on a good note, though. I bought a LivingSocial a while back for visiting a corn maze, hay ride and pumpkin patch near us, for two, for $9! So REB and I headed out to Dexter, MI to the Blast Corn Maze and had a fun little afternoon.

We finished the maze in about 15 minutes, using my nerdy hubby’s algorithm of “always go right”, picked up a few pumpkins for front-porch decor and also carving, and also saw some cute farm animals. We drove around A2 after that taking in the colors, and seeing some beautiful houses on the edge of town.

So the weekend was good, bad and then good again. I feel like I have another busy weekend coming up this weekend, but I’m hoping my weekends die down. I think I put too much on myself for the weekends and then end up feeling drained the whole week after…and before the NEXT weekend that comes. But at least they’ve been fun weekends!

Have you gotten pumpkins yet?
What are you favorite fall activities? 

An Autumn Affair

I’ve been having an affair with the fall season and month of October for almost 20 years. It’s pretty serious too, I think.

I absolutely love this time of year. It makes me appreciate what we have out there. It may not last long, but for a few weeks, we get to see a spectacular splash of color, which takes my breath away.

Unfortunately, I’m pretty spoiled because the first time I saw the fall color was when I was a young’in in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan when we lived up there. Yeah we lived in Houghton (WAY up there!) and going to Copper Harbor during the fall is something I’ll never forget. Fast forward 18 years, REB and I took a vacation to Vermont during peak color week out there. The amount of color someone can see there is amazing. I can’t even describe it.

However, I take advantage of the foliage any where I can. Call me a leafer, I guess. It’s a beautiful season and it’s not just the foliage that makes me love fall time. It’s everything else that comes with it: Honeycrisp apples; baking with fall flavors like nutmeg, cranberries, cinnamon; picking pumpkins and carving them; drinking cherry wines (or any wine) and football!

Fall is fantastic. End of story.

Homemade Pumpkin Seeds

UPDATE: the new post about this recipe is found here. But the main recipe is still in this one :)

Confession: I’m having a secret love affair with the month of October and Fall season. It’s been going on for more than 10 years now, but it’s true. I can’t help myself. Every year, around this time of year, I begin to find myself indulging in all things fall: being a “leafer”, taking a million photos (more than usual) of the pretty colors, wearing hoodies and sweaters, enjoying football (college more than Pro – GO GREEN!), going to apple orchards and cider mills, picking pumpkins, and of course….making homemade pumpkin seeds. I could eat pumpkin seeds all year round, and I would, but most packaged, brand name bags of seeds are over salted and not delicious. This is why I love this time of year when I can make them myself. And now I’ll tell you how to do it too. The basic recipe comes from Simply Recipes, but as usual, I never fully follow those…

Here we go:

Ingredients:
2 medium pumpkins (we picked ours from a local patch)
salt
olive oil
water

To prepare:

Preheat your oven to 400º. You also want to move your racks around so you have one on the top. So do that.IMG_9197First we took our two pumpkins and used our lovely pumpkin carving tools (available at most stores like Target, Meijer, etc.), cut off the top as if we were going to actually carve the dudes. [We're actually waiting until it gets a little later in the month before we carve our pumpkins – we bought these from a patch solely to make seeds. We are hardcore.] Anyway, once you have the top off, you may need to cut the opening wider so your hand can fit in there to scoop out the guts and separate out the seeds. As you can see above, we’ve demolished our pumpkins and thrown them away. Should be noted: protect the surface you’re working on. No need to make a huuuuge mess…unless you really want to of course.
IMG_9199Ta-da! Seeds!
IMG_9200They’re all gooey, but there were a ton of seeds! Mmm!IMG_9206Take your bowl of seeds to the sink and begin rinsing them under water. I loved the way the seeds felt. I’m weird.
IMG_9207Drain the seeds into a colander and continue to rinse them.IMG_9208Looks pretty clean!IMG_9210Put a huge stock pot or boiling pot on the stove and bring your seeds next to it. Using a 1/2 measuring cup, measure out your seeds, and put them into the pot. Keep in mind how much you measured! This is important to do because of the next step. We measured out about 2 1/4 cups of seeds.IMG_9212Then you’ll add 2 cups of water for every 1 cup of seeds. So basic math here people: we had 2 1/4 cup of seeds, so we added 4 1/2 cups of water to our pot.IMG_9214Next, add 1 tablespoon of salt for every cup of seeds you have. So we had a little over 2 tablespoons. If you want, you can go light on the salt now, since you can always add more later before you bake the seeds.
IMG_9215Stir to make them happy.

**Once you’ve done this, put a lid on the pot, put it on high heat and bring to a boil. Once the water and seeds are boiling, reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 10 more minutes**

IMG_9216Once they’re finished boiling and simmering, drain the seeds into a colander and shake the excess water. Oooh steamy!
IMG_9218Spread a little olive oil on a baking sheet (1-2 tablespoons or a couple shakes if you have yours bottled/spouted) and spread your seeds out in a single layer.
IMG_9219Remember a little while ago when I said you could add more salt before you bake the seeds? This is what we’re doing here. You could also try different seasonings like: curry (mmm!), cajun seasoning, cayenne pepper, etc. Whatever your heart desires.
IMG_9220Place the pan on the top rack of your oven and bake at 400º for 15-20 minutes. We actually baked ours for 15 minutes, took the pan out, stirred the seeds around, and then put it back in for an additional 5-10 minutes. The seeds are done when they are golden brown.
IMG_9221If you’re patient, let them cool for 5-10 minutes before diving in. But I have no class and devoured them in a matter of minutes.
IMG_9223Enjoy! Happy Fall :)