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Monthly Archives: September 2011

Octoberfest :: The “Fest” for my Favorite Month!

I’m not talking about the traditional German beer festival,  “Oktoberfest”… I’m talking about my favorite month of the year. It’s so my favorite that I’m tempted to type “most favorite”, but will refrain! We all know Autumn began last week, but growing up in New England, Autumn really hit around October. Our Indian Summers were coming to an end and the days began to get cooler. There was a crispness in the air and you could just smell fall. Dead leaves and burnt sunsets coloring your world the most beautiful shades of red fading to orange.

via We ♥ It

It is the perfect time to break out those flannel shirts, not quite sweater weather, but you can feel it coming.

via We ♥ it

Beyond this there are so many reasons I love October. The major one being: I’m an October baby [Libra] and we pretty much rock! Not only do we celebrate my birthday, but Hubs and I have a few other very special celebrations during the month! Do you celebrate Sweetest Day? We do! This is Hubs second marriage. In (what I find to be) the most awkward and cliché rituals of all time, he and his first wife were wed on Valentine’s day, forever kind of tainting it. As a result, we celebrate it, but it feels kind of awkward. We decided we would make Sweetest Day our “celebration of love” day!

Growing up Halloween was my favorite holiday! It’s so magical! Witches, ghosts, zombies and monsters! In New England, this is when things really “Fall” into place. There was always a dampness that would require some cider to warm you up. It was always a drizzly night with layers under our costumes and inevitable our brown grocery bag trick-or-treat bags breaking. Eventually we made the switch to pillow cases!

Now, I love Halloween because I get to celebrate the day my husband and I vowed our love to each other!

Warm apple cider, pumpkin patches, hay rides and caramel apples!

Scarves, flannel, boots, and hoodies!

Camp fires, blankets, a thermos and s’mores! 

Oh, October – you bring the best with you and I can’t wait! This year October is going to be fabulous as we will be travelling home to Virginia, having a Thanksgiving dinner while there and celebrating my birthday with family! I’ve never been more excited for my favorite 31 days to roll in – so goodnight, September. HELLO OCTOBER!

The Little Things Like Muffins and Mixers!

This week was a hard week for me and it was very easy to lose sight of those little things in life that are blessings. The biggest blessing has been my Hubs, and the fact that he has not kicked me out of the house! My hormones and medication have not been kind to me at all and it has been a very trying week for him. I have focused on my jobs this week though: trying to be a better wife and creating products for my shop. I had my second customer (a custom order for 40 favor tags!) and ordered my first ad space (Over on To Make Love Stay) so check her awesome blog out and look for my ad next month! 

Onto those little things that did shine through this week though. Last weekend we had blueberry muffins for breakfast. They were not from scratch, they were in fact a mix that I only had to add water to, but they were the best muffins I’ve ever had. Maybe it was the shiny wrappers (hey, it was all we had!)

Do you know the muffin man?

We also made Reubens for dinner last weekend (which were delicious the second time we tried them!) and since we had the bread I made us grilled cheese for lunch! Jewish Rye bread is my favorite bread! We hadn’t had grilled cheese sandwiches in I could not tell you how long (for me, easily 5 years!) and they were so good!

Most delicious lunch ever.

We completely forgot about our nephews birthday this week! Well, I didn’t even know when it was, and I’ve asked my sister-in-law a few times when everyone’s birthday was, to keep track, but she never tells me. Luckily, we’re friends on Facebook, and so when she posted it was his birthday Sunday, I grabbed this cute card from my shop and sent it off! Later in the day she posted a picture of his cake and it had red, orange and yellow balloons on it! Worked out pretty great, except late. We still have not heard from her letting us know he got it. I love in-laws.

Perfect to have on hand!

The final little things that made my week was the three-day process of making pizza! Did you catch that story? I was able to use my Artisan mixer for the first time (the first time we tried, the second time I used my hands.)

I'm in love!

Oh, and I suppose you want to see the pizza:

Homemade white pizza with artichoke pizza sauce. DELISH!

OH! Sugar cookies! We can’t forget sugar cookies! (remember the kind of week I’m having?) I have requested Hubs to stop and get sugar cookies everyday this week. Our local grocery store is in the process of undergoing a make-over and they finally added fresh cookies to their bakery. BEST.COOKIES.EVER.EVER.EVER. Oh, best husband ever too, EVER.EVER.EVER:

I love the man who stops after a ridiculously long day at work to get every sugar cookie in the bakery... all 5.

As always I’m linking up with Lindsay and if you’re hopping over from there you may think I’m familiar to you. I was posting this on my faith blog, and that is something else this week that has been a blessing. God has come into my life and let me know my “regular” blog is my faith blog. There is no reason to hide my faith or cater to the readership here. I am on a journey of discovering myself and my relationship with Him and it is changing who I am for the better. You won’t be seeing Seek Ye First anymore, you’ll be catching me here, and everything that makes me who I am!

To my regular readers, I hope this new change doesn’t make you feel alienated. I know I don’t normally blog about my relationship with the Lord, but it is something I am focusing on more in my life, and for sure will make its way into my blog.

What little things happened this week for you to make you smile, friends? If you’re looking for previous posts, they are all under the category “The Little Things” and have been imported over here. For my fellow hoppers, have a joyous and blessed week and let’s always remember the little things!

Pizza : THREE days in the making!

It was two weeks ago Hubs and I headed up tp Williams-Sonoma for our weekly Sunday Morning Date. They offer “free” cooking classes every Sunday! Two weeks ago was PIZZA MAKING! Um, hello? Does it get cooler than that? We learned how to make pizza dough from scratch! As beginners we bought a box of mix there. Of course we also got a pizza stone and one of those wooden pizza spatula things you see them use in Italian restaurants! We’re completely legit, right?

WRONG. We picked up the ingredients for Margherita pizza (fresh mozzarella, basil, and we already had these whole Roma tomatoes from WS). Monday night we decided to try to make some dough! The box said it would only take 30-60 minutes to proof. We waited until hubs was home and got working on it.

Needless to say: We had Jack in the Box for dinner. 

The dough kind of proofed over the course of the next few hours, so we thought we would save it and make it for dinner Tuesday night.

Needless to say: We had La Caseta (the awesome Mexican Restaurant here in town where they know our order when we walk in) for dinner.

Yesterday I was bound and determined to have homemade pizza for dinner.

Ignore the mess that is our recyclables and my bare feet and focus on that amazing pizza!

First up was our Margherita pizza We were so pleased with how it came out! Next in the over went a White Pizza:

 

Into the oven!

 

Over the course of the three days, we had some very interesting pictures and I can’t seem to narrow it down from the 40 I narrowed it down to! I will leave you with this final one:

"Chow", Bella!

Handmade pizza dough, artichoke garlic pizza sauce, fresh and shredded mozzarella and basil. Oh man, it was good 😀 Why did it take three days for us to have this delicious dinner? The first night I added too much water by simply not paying attention. That happens when you cook with the person you love and have a blast in the kitchen. As a result, we added one of those glass measuring cups to our list for this weekends class!

On the menu tonight is the ever fancy: Sloppy Joe’s (with what better be the best sauce of our lives) and tater tots! YUM! This weekend for brunch: EBELSKIVERS! Yep, we got the pan, mix and some blueberry filling last weekend after class. Hubs fell in love with the pictures. Let’s hope it doesn’t take three days to make them too!

Ten Things :: VACATION!

I saw this over on Lauren’s blog: Enchanting, and had to jump in… you know, since I’m getting ready for our “working” vacation! It’s from a new to me blog: Roots and Rings!  Get ready to learn a little more about me and my vacation dreams!

1. What is your dream vacation?
Not to be the awkward one, but anywhere with my husband would be good enough for me. Beyond that I think a Mediterranean cruise would be wicked awesome!
 
2. What has been your favorite trip so far in your life?
July 4th weekend, 2008. This was the first trip my husband and I ever took (when we were just getting serious in dating)! We went to a small island in the Chesapeake Bay: Tangier! Oh, It was AMAZING! You take a ferry over to this island that was lost in time! The people there still speak with a hint of Olde English and it’s almost like they have their own language! They have electricity, but no cars on the island- only bikes and golf carts, but you can walk everywhere! We stayed in a cute little Bed and Breakfast. It rained almost the whole time, which was creepy when you could see water no matter where you were. We missed our crabbing tour, but it was just an amazing trip into history! 
 
3. If you and one of your best friends could go anywhere in the world for one week, where would it be and why?
Anywhere? I don’t even know enough about the world to make this decision so I would have to consult Hubs. He’s seen so many amazing places thanks to the Navy. My dream would be Ireland, naturally though.
 
4. Have you ever booked a trip using an online deal? How did it go?
Nope. The only online deal I’ve looked for when booking a trip would be airlines.
 
5. What’s your favorite thing to do while you’re on vacation?
Experience things we never would otherwise and eat regional food. When we were in Texas and Tennessee we ate bar-b-que, when we go to South Carolina we eat pretty much nothing but shrimp! Hubs’ dad knows where to get the.best.shrimp!
 
6. Have you ever missed an opportunity to take a trip that you regret?
I don’t have a passport. The only thing I could even kind of count would have been meeting Hubs in a few of the ports they stopped at last deployment, but he worked so hard I would have been alone most of the time. I just accepted that’s how it works with a husband in the medical department of a Carrier and didn’t look at it as a missed opportunity.
 
7. You travel far away from home and get stranded with no way to buy anything, what’s the one thing you can’t live without?
I’d like to think if I was in this situation I would have been previously trained by Bear Gryles, or else I wouldn’t be wandering around to get caught in this position. I’;; go with a swiss army knife so I could do some survival stuff. If it was on vacation and I got stranded though, I would say: enough money to make a phone call to get money wired to me, or get to the American Embassy.
 
8. What’s one of your favorite traveling memories?
I will have to not retell the story of Tangier, so I will go with our South Carolina Christmas 2009. We were already married but nobody knew, so it was our mini honeymoon. We went to Beaufort one night for dinner and to see where Hubs’ great grandparents lived, we followed interstate signs to Georgia without a map or GPS to get us to Savannah, and we just enjoyed each other in our alone time away from family.
 
9. All included resort or backpacking? Why?
All inclusive resort. We’re not really outdoorsy type people.
 
10. Are you more of a lie on the beach kind of person on vacation, or do you prefer to see the sights?
See the sights! It is most likely something I will never see again, whereas I grew up within half hour distance to the beach the most.
 
How fun was this? Now you know a little bit more about me and my amazing travels *cough, cough*. Maybe one day we’ll be travellers!

Giveaway Closed :: Pretty Packages {K. Davis Creates}

I have UBER EXCITING news coming with the spotlight of this next fabulous shop: A GIVEAWAY! I stumbled upon this shop in my usual manner- clicking on the sponsors from one blog, to another blog, to the shop! K. Davis Creates is an adorable shop with notebook covers, awesome crayon rolls and adorable key fobs, including these:

”]I am a sucker for key fobs! Anyone who has ever done serious grocery shopping will know how awkward it is to wrestle a cart (and kids?) while you try to get your keys out of your purse or pocket! These are the perfect tool for carrying keys on your wrist so you don’t have to dig through your purse… however, I find when I throw them into my purse they are so much easier to spot when I have a bright, fun fob to look for as well. I have been on the hunt for a new one and when I saw these I could not resist. The good news about that is: TWO of my readers will get one! I don’t need three of them, so you lucky dogs get a deal.

This is going to be a pretty easy giveaway to enter as well! I don’t have GFC so no worries if you follow or not. All you have to do: Leave me a comment below that you’d like to win one. That’s it.

If you want to tweet about this giveaway you can do so by clicking the [T] button down below. 

By all means, spread the love to your friends on Facebook and while you’re there, you could “like” my fan page… it’s just not going to earn you another entry.

***Giveaway not endorsed by K. Davis Creates. I’m not even sure she knows I’m doing it. I just fell in love with her blog and shop!***

Good luck friends!

Winner will be chosen tomorrow morning at 11:53 am PST.

“Chew” On This

If I were being completely honest, I would have to confess a few things to you, friends. I like to break the mold of common conception and not be a housewife who watches day time television. It isn’t all too appealing, overall. Truth be told: I loved Oprah. Truth: When I remember he is on I enjoy Nate Berkus. Truth: Ellen cracks me up. Truth: I seldom remember these show are on and end up listening to music for a greater portion of the day, or having the food network on in the background.

With that this should come as no surprise to you: Today, a brand new show aired that I was super excited for: The Chew (on ABC). I am in love with every one of the hosts (there are five, each specializing in something different!) and was pleased with the result! Did you catch it? It was on here at noon and I will be sure to watch it while I take a break for lunch.

They started the show with a recipe I kind of turned my nose up to, but I think I could give it a try. I’ve never had kale… but I like spinach.

INGREDIENTS:
8 pork cutlets (2 oz. each)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 bunch parsley
8 slices aged ham
Flour for dusting
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
4 tbsp unsalted butter
1 minced shallot
4 cups torn kale
1 16oz can white beans
1/2 cup dry white wine
Zest & juice of 1 lemon

DIRECTIONS:
Using a meat mallet, pound each pork slice to about 1/8-inch thick.
Place 1 parsley leaf and 1 slice of ham on each cutlet and fold over to form a sandwich, with the meat inside the prosciutto, Pound lightly with the meat mallet, then secure with toothpicks.

In a 10- to 12- inch sauté pan, heat 2 tablespoons of the butter and the olive oil over high heat until it foams and subsides.
Season the flour with salt and pepper, and dredge the cutlets lightly in the flour. Add to the pan and cook for 2 minutes on each side. Transfer to a platter and keep warm.

Add the shallots to the pan with the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and cook for 1 minute add the almonds and cook for an additional minute.

Pour the white wine into the pan and reduce, stirring with a wooden spoon to dislodge the browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Add the kale and toss to combine. Add the beans. Add the orange zest and juice. Chop the remaining parsley and stir in. Pour the sauce over the pork chops, and serve immediately.

He cooked it in five minutes and it cost less than five dollars a serving! Not too shabby! The other recipe from today that just absolutely spoke to me was a delicious autumn breakfast “treat”!

INGREDIENTS:
1 Cup Bisquick Baking Mix
1 Egg
1/2 Cup Milk
1 Teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice
Zest of 1/2 Lemon
2 Medium Apples, pared and cored

DIRECTIONS:
Beat baking mix, egg and milk with rotary beater until smooth. Add pumpkin pie spice and lemon zest to batter and mix until incorporated. Grease griddle. Cut apples crosswise in 1/8-inch slices. Using a toothpick dip slices into batter. Cook on hot griddle until golden brown, turning once. Serve hot with apple cider syrup.

Apple Cider Syrup

INGREDIENTS:
Apple Cider
Lemon juice, freshly squeezed
Ground Cinnamon

DIRECTIONS:
Add apple cider, lemon juice, and cinnamon to saucepan and bring to a boil, then reduce for about 5 minutes. Pour syrup over slices and serve!

How fun do you think those are going to be? I’m really excited about them! Then of course you can’t be daytime television without a little drama, right? Daphne Oz is one of the co-host (and I happen to like her!) and made a smoothie. I feel bad for the girl because she seems to be a double-edged sword. We only know of her because of her dad… and as it goes, she can’t get out from under his shadow. He came to the show today, which I thought was cute (he brought flowers for her!) and he gave his 2 cents about the smoothie. If you’re not comfortable with any of the ingredients (as was the case with the facebook drama on The Chew fan page) consult your physician first! I thought it looked pretty tasty though!

INGREDIENTS:
1/2 Cup Yogurt
1 Cup Fresh Fruit
1/2 Cup Blueberries
1 Teaspoon Honey
1 Tablespoon Ground Psyllium Husks
2 Ester-C Capsules
1 Cup Ice

DIRECTIONS:
In a blender, combine ingredients and blend until smooth.

I think I will talk to my doctor about the Psyllium before trying it just to make sure it won’t interact with any medication I’m on. It is found in Metamucil, but in its whole form does not have all the added “junk”.

Clinton Kelly was kind of the lead host today, I don’t know if he will stay that way. He has this segment where he takes a plate of food and teaches you how to make it a platter of appetizers! Today he transformed a BLT and pork chops! Then of course you have Mario Batali teaching us how to get in touch with our inner Italiano!!

Yes, this is definitely a show I am interested in and will set a reminder to watch!

**all images were found on The Chew facebook fan page!**

Sharing The {Etsy} Love

Hello friends! Since setting up my Etsy shop I have been doing some thinking on the power of blogging. Not only is there a great community here, but within Etsy I have found a great community as well. I have come to understand the need to advertise outside of the Etsy community. After some careful consideration I am pleased to announce that I am adding a new feature to my blog: SPONSORSHIP! I’m still new and these wordpress side bars drive me absolutely bananas. I’m playing around with bigger sizes, but for now I know I can accommodate 150 x 150 ads, so that’s what I have to offer:

Size: 150×150
1 Month :: $5.50
2 Months :: $9.50
3 Months :: $13.00
Feature: Guest/interview Post + Option for Giveaway and/ or Product Review
 
I would love to feature your business, shop or your personal blog! I post most days and average around 100 views a day. Somedays I post twice and hence generate more views. On any given week there are at least five posts. I use facebook fan page to keep some fans involved as well as the twitterverse. I also participate in several “hops” bringing a diverse crowd to my little slice of the internet! Your feature post would include a little bit about who you are and one or two links to your shop/ webpage, a link over to your facebook fan page, blog and twitter if applicable as well.  
 
Please contact me if you are interested or have questions at Theyoungretiree@gmail.com!
 
**New sizes will become available as I figure it out, offering larger and smaller sizes. Prices are subject to change as this blog grows in popularity, however vendors will be made aware and this page will change before that occurs.**