So Long Summer Cider

It’s fall – no question about that. The chill in the air has arrived. My mums are out in front of the house. I bought a large amount of pumpkins and gourds to display. It’s fall.

One of the things I put on my fall bucket list is to perfect an autumnal drink. Something that had apples, and fall spices, and just felt like a cooler weather drink from the first sip. Dan beat me to the punch on this one and created what we’ve named So Long Summer Cider.

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In honor of going apple picking this weekend, we got some apple cider from Trader Joe’s, and Dan came up with this drink from ingredients we already had in the house:

6 oz. apple cider

2 oz. honey whiskey

2 dashes Peychaud’s orange bitters

about 2 tablespoons honey mixed with a bit of water (to thin it) and cinnamon sugar (for rimming glass)

one mini cinnamon stick (for garnish)

Start by pouring the honey onto a flat dish and doing the same thing in another dish with the cinnamon sugar. Dip the glass in the syrup, then quickly dip the glass in the sugar.

To make the drink, combine the cider, whiskey, and a splash of bitters. Add an ice cube (preferably a cool square one) and the cinnamon stick to the glass, and enjoy!

We didn’t have any oranges in the house, but you could up your drink game by throwing in a curled orange peel the next time you have guests over that you want to impress.

Given how tasty this was, and how non-alcoholic it tasted, it’s sure to become our go-to drink this fall season.

Washi Tape Pumpkin Garland

Two posts in two days? You bet – I’m trying to make up for lost time!

With fall having officially arrived just a couple days ago, I’ve been decorating for the new season all week. Mostly, I’ve just put up the same candles, lanterns, and decor we’ve had for years. I have a few autumn-related projects on my to-do list, so hopefully I’ll have those completed and can blog about them soon.

I did finish one craft this week, and I really wanted to share it with you.  It’s a washi tape pumpkin garland.

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So, how did I make it?

And the end of fall last year, I picked up a pack of six mini plastic pumpkins from Michael’s.

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They weren’t the greatest colors, but I thought I could use them for vase filler or maybe paint them (neon pumpkins, anyone?) and display them in a glass vase or something. Cut to this year when I took the bag of pumpkins out of my fall decorations storage tote. I had the idea to turn these cute little guys into a small garland. I knew that the six pumpkins would not make a long enough garland for the fireplace, so I thought a shorter garland would look nice paired with a fall print or chalkboard.

I still needed to figure out how to pretty the pumpkins up a bit. I didn’t feel like painting them (mostly, I didn’t want to set up cardboard and newspaper outside), so I tried to think of what I had around to change their color and pattern. Maybe decoupage using scrapbook paper? But, my laziness got the best of me when I realized it would be messy. I then got the idea to use washi tape. I have a ton of rolls, and while none were really fall-like, I realized I had some orange options and decided to go for it.

Before I got started taping, I tried figuring out how I would attach the pumpkins to some brown twine. I considered using a hot glue gun, but I wasn’t sure the pumpkins would hang nicely. I thought that cutting off the stem, putting hot glue under it, and then reattaching the stem with the twine underneath would be the best option. When I went to remove the stem, I was pleasantly surprised to see that it popped right off intact!

I left the stem off and taped up three of the pumpkins. I used a striped pattern on two of them and a herringbone pattern on the third. I did three continuous loops of washi tape around the pumpkins going right over the middle, and then a loop to the left of center and one to the right. For the part of the pumpkin left showing, I used short pieces of tape vertically on each side of the pumpkin. The tape ended up a little bit over the stem hole, but it didn’t matter. I just put the twine over the stem hole, then re-attached the stem.

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The garland and framed chalkboard is currently sitting on a floating shelf behind the family room couch, along with some other fall decorations.

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I love how these little pumpkins came out, especially with the little effort this DIY project took to do.

 

Our Chicken Pot Pie

Recently, we found ourselves home on a Saturday night with no plans. How did that happen? We decided to use the time to do something we used to love doing, but haven’t had time to do in ages – cook a (somewhat time intensive) dinner together. I was too lazy to go to the store, so we saw what we had in the house and went from there. It was a little on the chilly side, so we focused on fall foods and decided to make chicken pot pie.

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I looked at a bunch of different recipes, but ultimately, we sort of winged it and made up our own.

Ingredients:

2 carrots

1 small red pepper

1 celery stalk

1 can peas (drained)

1 can corn (drained)

1 1/2 cans low sodium chicken broth

2-3 boneless skinless chicken breasts (cut into inch-sized pieces)

celery salt

3 tablespoons butter

1/3 cup chopped white onion

1/3 cup flour

1/3 cup milk

1 package pie crust (both crusts in the package)

1 egg (beaten and made into an egg wash with a bit of water.)

salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place one of the pie crusts in a pie pan and brush it with egg wash. Once the oven is up to temperature, bake the pie crust for only 5 minutes. Remove the pan and let it cool on the counter.

Chop the carrots, celery stalk, and red pepper. Put those veggies in a pan with high sides. Add the chicken stock, chicken, peas, corn, and some celery salt to the pan. You want to make sure the ingredients are mostly covered in the chicken stock. Allow the pan to come to a boil, then let it simmer for 15 minutes.

While the veggies and chicken are cooking, start making the onion and flour mixture. Melt the butter in another pan and add the onion. Cook until the onion is translucent. Then, add the flour, milk, and salt and pepper to taste. The mixture should thicken up a bit.

Once both parts of the pie and cooked, add the flour-onion mixture to the veggie-chicken mixture and stir. Once combined, spoon about half of it into the pie pan. Smooth the surface as best you can. Then, add the other pie crust to the top. Try to crimp the two pie crusts together, so nothing boils out of the pie. use a sharp knife and poke some venting holes on the top of the pie. Finally, brush on more of the egg wash.

Let the pie bake for about 30-35 minutes. When fully cooked, let the pie sit for a bit, maybe 10 minutes or so, before cutting.

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This pie was so tasty. One quick comment – be a little heavy handed with the spices. Ours could have used more celery salt, or even some poultry seasoning. The pie was a little on the bland side, so next time, I’ll be sure to give it some kick.

 

 

Quick and Easy Ham and Swiss Sliders

I hosted a few close friends for our annual luau a couple weeks ago. Oddly, no photos were taken, so I don’t have any to share with you guys.

Instead, I’m going to share the mini sandwiches I prepared for the party.

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They were a hit!

I started with this recipe, but changed it quite significantly. I thought there was just too much butter.

Ingredients:

15 Hawaiian rolls (I bought a 24 pack and had extra)

1/2 pound deli ham (I used Krakus)

1/2 pound deli Swiss cheese

Sauce:

2 tablespoons spicy brown mustard

3 tablespoons melted butter

2 tablespoons chopped onion (this is a spice, not fresh onion)

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon poppy seeds (can be omitted)

Directions:

Start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees. While the oven heats, start working on the sandwiches. Cut the Hawaiian rolls in half, creating a top and bottom. Leave the bottoms without their tops.

Make the sauce by whisking all the ingredients together in a bowl. I gave approximate measurements above, as I wasn’t too careful with the measuring tools. The sauce shouldn’t be too thin or runny.

Spread a bit of sauce on each roll bottom. Top with one folded piece of ham and half a piece of cheese (folded in half). Add a bit more sauce on the top of the bun, and place it on top of the sandwich.

Spray a 9×13 pan with non-stick cooking spray and place the sliders into the pan. All should fit without stacking. Spray the tops of the buns just a bit, and cover the pan with foil. Bake for 15 minutes, remove the tin foil, and bake for about 5 minutes more.

They came out delicious – much more so than I thought a simple ham and cheese sandwich would be. I think that sauce is definitely the key. I had some leftover, and put them in the fridge. Dan heated one up when he got home and said they were great even re-heated.

Let me know how yours turn out!