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Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Roasted Pork Loin with Apples & Onions | Cheddar Grits & Autumn Harvest Salad Recipes

Oh my have I been waiting to share this.  We made this two weeks ago and it is about to happen again this week - that's when you know it is a good one.  There are so many great things going on with this recipe.  There are a couple of secrets that you must do to experience all it has to offer.  1) Salt the pork 2 hours before cooking - and use lots of salt.  It really makes the dish very tasty.  2) Serve with Apple Butter.  The pork, apples and onions become very salty, and the sweet, cold apple butter does amazing things when dolloped on top.  3) Serve with Cheddar Grits.  If you've never made grits before, don't worry, they are so easy.  The creamy, savory taste is amazing with the salty, sweet pork.  Finally, 4) Serve with the Autumn Harvest Salad.  Normally I only enjoy cold, crispy salads, but something about serving this on a warm plate with warm food, almost wilts the greens and the balsamic mixes with the sauce.  It almost is like a vegetable side instead of a salad.  Then there are the crunchy roasted/salted pumpkins seeds and shards of pecorino on top...  

Have I adequately convinced you?  After all of this you may think that this is a very complicated thing to make, but it couldn't be simpler.   It is easy, with very little hands-on time, prep or chopping.  It does require 1 & 1/2 hours of cooking/resting time, so allow for that.  It might make a better Sunday Supper for most of us.  

I made a very similar recipe last year with Pork Tenderloins (verses pork loin roasts).   A Pork Loin (same as Pork Roast) is not quite as tender as a Pork Tenderloin, and has more fat (flavor).   I still love that version and tenderloins, but this is a little simpler, and a bit more hearty with the Roasts... also, that was before I discovered the salting tip.

Roasted Pork Loin
with Apples & Onions

2-3 pound pork roast
1 tablespoon of salt
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 apples, cut into wedges
1 onion, cut into wedges
fresh thyme sprigs
1/2 cup of apples cider
apple butter
Cheddar Grits  (see below)
Autumn Salad (see below)

Coat pork roast with salt for 2 hours before cooking.  Refrigerate.  In a dutch oven (or something that can go from stove to oven, with a lid) sear the salted roast in olive oil for 3 minutes on each side until brown.  Add apples and onions to the pot, scattered around the outside.  Add apple cider and thyme.  Cover with life and roast in the oven at 350 for 50-60 minutes (about 20 minutes per pound).  Remove from oven and let rest for 20 minutes, covered.  Take it out of the pan, slice it, then serve it on a platter with apples and onions surrounding.  Pour over pan drippings/sauce.  Serve with apple butter.  

Sear the salted pork on all sides in a hot pan.

This was a great recipe to use our "organic" (wild?) apples we picked from my parents orchard.  I didn't worry about peeling them, because I like the color the skin adds to the pan.

Throw in apples, onions, thyme and cider.  Cover and bake for 20 minutes/pound of pork.  This one took 50 minutes.

Meanwhile make the salad and grits.

Autumn Harvest Salad

Field Greens
1 apples, diced
handful of cranberries
handful of salted & roasted pumpkin seeds (store bought)
pecorina cheese, peels *see tip
2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar 
1 teaspoon of dijon
2 tablespoons of olive oil
sea salt & cracked pepper

Assemble greens, apples and cranberries in large bowl.  Mix together dressing in a liquid measuring cup with pourer.  Toss with dressing just before serving.  Top with pumpkin seeds and lots and lots of pecorino cheese.

*Tip: I like to do the pecorino in big pieces with a vegetable peeler.

Cheddar Grits

3 cups of water
1 cup of grits
1/2 cup of half and half
4 tablespoons of butter
1 cup of cheddar, shredded
1 tablespoon of sea salt

Prepare the grits by bringing water to boil, then lower heat and add grits. Cook for 20 minutes, stirring often.  When grits are tender, add half and half, butter, cheddar and salt.  Remove from heat and warm when ready to serve.  You may need to add some milk or half and half to loosen back up.

Roast at 160 degrees on a meat thermometer after 50 minutes.  Let rest for 20 minutes, covered.

Slice, then pour apples and onions and sauce around/over.

Garnish with some fresh thyme to add green to the platter.

Dollop on Apple Butter just before serving.

In honor of the Autumn Harvest Salad, I thought I would share some photos of Emma's first "harvest" with Gramp Gramp.

 She was pretty proud of herself up there!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Weekly Menu | Pork Roast, Caramel Corn, Moroccan Chicken Stew & Martha Videos

This week's menu looks a little different than most weeks.  Actually, this week is going to look a little different in general.  I'm giving myself some free time this week to check off some to-do's before holiday business begins.  The biggest thing on my list is to complete a couple of years worth of photo albums!  Remember this post about Emma's 0-1 book?  Well, shamefully, that was the last one I completed : )  So, this is the week.  I'm spending the week in photos - creating a gallery wall in our stairwell and completing all of the books I've missed... including a wedding album for Mike and Me.  Since our 5 year anniversary is this year, I thought it was high time.  Whoops.

As I was saying, this menu looks a little different because this week I've challenged myself to find some new recipes and fresh inspiration this week.  I love fall cooking and have already made many of our favorites, so I'm ready to reach out and look to others for inspiration.  I have a new favorite (pork roast with onions and apples, served with a dollop of apple butter, cheddar grits and salad with cranberry and pumpkin seeds) pictured above that I'll share tomorrow.  I thought it would be fun to share some spots where I find inspiration along the way.

Another way this week is going to look different is because I'm going to write more.  When I added the store two years ago, it takes up most of my allotted "work" time, which leaves me less time to write and share other aspects of our life and home.  I miss writing - it is actually one of my favorite ways to unwind and reflect.  I love looking back on a week or a moment and taking time to relish in it.  So this week, I'm allowing myself some time to write more on the blog and reflect on some of the "thin moments" of time that bless us.  Now that the Halloween products are available in my store, and I have a little breathing room until Thanksgiving and Holiday collections come along - I'm going to take it.

I hope everyone has an opportunity (or makes an opportunity) to enjoy this week.  Taking time to slow down and just enjoy is such a treat that we all deserve.  Make an effort to do that for yourself, or better yet - to help someone else do the same.

. . .

Monday :  The first thing on my list is this Caramel Corn from Tessa.  I'm planning this for an after school snack and for dessert tonight.  Tessa treats you to two recipes in the same post, this caramel corn and a Moroccan Chicken Stew that I've been itching to try.  I love the way Tessa blogs - it is well worth your time to look at her years past posts of Fall months- one of my favorite things to do..  Lots of great fall traditions to put on your list.

Caramel Corn

Chicken Moroccan Stew

I'm looking for a really great Lasagna recipe.  I've never made one with a b├ęchamel before and have been day dreaming about it for a while.  I always start with a google image search for new recipes.  If you have any favorites, please share!

It is no secret that I find much inspiration from Martha Stewart.  Truthfully, while I like the current magazine, I really love the old videos in her archives.  I can vividly remember hurrying home from school to catch the daily show.  My mom would come home from work to find me making some sort of seasonal craft or recipe inspired by the show.  What a nutty kid, right?  I don't know what it is about these old videos that are still chalk full of inspiration for me - maybe the traditional elements, or the settings of classic new england farm kitchens/yards?  Whatever it is, I still love them.

The other day at Target I came across this Country Home magazine (I believe it is a Better Homes and Garden special mag?).  I flipped through it, loving every single photo.  I hardly ever find a magazine that really inspires me or offers something that really speaks to me.  Every home featured was just everything I love.  I didn't buy it because it was $12.99, but I can't stop thinking about it.  So, today I'm headed back and will treat myself to a copy.

I'd love to hear about where you get your inspiration.  I'm on the hunt for recipes and decor ideas this week, so please share.  I hope everyone enjoys this first full week of October : )


Friday, October 2, 2015

Halloween Collection | Pumpkin Spice Syrup, Maple Syrup, Jack O'Lantern Tags & Donuts!

Halloween Collection

As I said in my email newsletter yesterday, for me, Halloween is one of those quintessential childhood holidays that stir so many nostalgic feelings.  This collection is all about those classic moments of childhood and making it simple to creating those moments for your family.

I am so glad Halloween is on a Saturday this year, which means a fun family breakfast is in order.  This collection is full of breakfast ideas from Pumpkin Spice Syrup (for your latte) to homemade (baked or fried) donuts.  If you don't feel like making them, you can package up bakery (or cider mill) donuts in these cute boxes to give as gifts.  You'll be the most popular spook around!


Shop the entire Halloween Collection, here >

Maple Syrup

Let's start with the most exciting new product (for me) - Everyday Occasions Maple Syrup.

Our love of real maple syrup runs deep.  Mike introduced me to it when we were dating  Wait, did he introduce me to it or insist on it?  Hard to remember...  
Last year I included a well designed bottle of maple syrup in our holiday gifts for friends and neighbors.  Of course, I immediately had a vision for a bottle and label design that I would love to use this year.  It is just the thing to enjoy for yourself or give.
8 oz.
Grade A Dark Amber
Pumpkin Spice Syrup

Pumpkin Spice is definitely the flavor of the season.  I have a major Pumpkin Spice Latte habit - thankfully, I'm making them at home this year with the help of this syrup.  It is also great on top of ice cream or pancakes, too (of course!).
Emma's teachers are going to be receiving this this year - as a gift with a special coffee cup and gourmet coffee.
12 oz.

Donuts for Giving
I love homemade gifts.  Around here we don't wait for Christmas to deliver gifts to our neighbors and friends - almost every holiday or season we find a way to give and share.  Who wouldn't like a box full of donuts on their doorstep?!  You can make them with my new donut supplies (more details below) or just buy them and wrap them in these new boxes.

As we were waiting in line for our beloved Cider Donuts at our local farm stand, I picked up a recipe book of old fashioned treats.  As I read the recipe for the very donuts we were waiting for, I thought, I really want to make these at home.  I've made a baked version in my Donut Pan (also a new item offered for Halloween!), but I also wanted to try the real deal.
The recipe recommended the use of a donut cutter.  I like to think that my kitchen is equipped with almost every tool I might ever need, but this was something I didn't have.  So, of course when I need something, I assume you do, too!
I purchased both sizes and put them together in a set.  I'm just as excited about the "holes" as I am the donuts!  The 2.5" size is great for cake donuts and the 3.5" is perfect for yeast.
2.5" & 3.5" Donut Cutters

Baking donuts is just as easy as stirring together a muffin mix, then baking for 10 minutes.  An added bonus is feeling a little bit better about making donuts every other morning.  
After brushing with butter and rolling them in cinnamon sugar, we were instantly transported to the cider mill.  In our pajamas.  
The Donut Pan bakes 6 donuts at a time and has a non-stick finish.
This year I really wanted to create a cheerful halloween tag.  Maybe it is because all too often I see really scary and yucky halloween images.  For me, Halloween is kids walking through the neighborhood in costumes crunching on leaves, big bowls of chili, a classroom full of costume clad kids, bags of candy and a front porch of Jack O'Lanterns.  I'm going to hold on to my Halloween vision for a while (and let someone else do the blood and guts...).  
These cheerful Jack O'Lanterns will add a festive Halloween feel to any simple treat - like this bag of candy corn or a popcorn ball.   
Printed on creamy cardstock and pre-punched with a hole, these tags are ready to be tied on any treat with ribbon or twine.  See my favorite jute twine or gingham ribbons, here : )
Set of 20 tags.

Rectangle Kraft Window Boxes

Of course these boxes can be used for anything - a gift, cookies, cupcakes, etc. - but they make a great box for donuts.  A nod nicer than a bakery box, they feel like something special and nostalgic at the same time.  Like donuts from the nicest neighborhood donut shop of your dreams : )
10"W x 7"D x 2.5"H
Set of 10 boxes.
Treat Bags | Kraft or Glassine

These bags are great for any season or holiday.  This halloween, I plan to fill them with popcorn trail mix for Emma's class (they're into not so sweet at her school).  For the party at our house, I'll fill them with decorated sugar cookies (see below!) and line them up in rows in a basket as take home treats. 
I love wrapping it with gingham ribbon or twine and sealing with a label.  
25 bags per set
5" x 7" bags
Select Option : Kraft or Glassine/White
Products Used :
Printable LabelsGingham Ribbon
Printable Labels & Halloween Templates

I use these labels for everything - they are great to have around.  They are blank sheets of labels made from a thick, creamy white paper or kraft paper (purchased from Paper-Source) and make beautiful, high quality labels.  They are the same that I use on all of my own products for the store.  You can print anything on them for any season.  
The labels come in sets of 50 in easily printable sheets for $5.  *I've added the Halloween Labels to the Template Files below!  

Copper Cookie Cutters, Bat

These bats have been my favorite Halloween cookies for years, so of course I had to restock this year.  They are very simple to make - the sprinkles do most of the work!

They come wrapped in a cellophane bag with my sugar cookie recipe, tied with a ribbon ready for giving.
Cookie Cutter Pancakes

Cookie Cutters aren't just for Cookies.  I used my cutters for these haunted Chocolate Chip Pancakes last Halloween - I'm sure they'll be making several appearances between now and the 31st!

See Recipe Link and Instructions, here.

What is more classic Halloween than a Pumpkin Sugar Cookie?  Emma's first sugar cookie decorating experience was a  when she was 10 months old : )   I wonder what we will make together this year?

Happy Halloween season everyone!  I hope I've shared something that will help you to make some new traditions and memories with your family.


Shop the entire Halloween Collection, here >

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

New Maple Trees | October Glory Maple Trees

This spring, as our home construction was nearing completion, I shared our plan for the landscaping and garden.  We've really enjoyed every step and have done everything ourselves (to this point) for plantings and design.  Here is a post about the design, inspiration and layout I shared in the spring.

You can see that the backyard is fairly open.  While it does feel lush because of the flowering vines and overgrowth on the back fence, we really need some shade on our patio and the back of the house to help with efficiency.

Our plan has been to do things step by step, and to add more each year.  We've accomplished the hydrangea hedge on the left, the peonies on the right, replaced the back fence, planted the cherry tree, the rose garden to the left of the porch, and the hydrangea under the elm tree.  We also added a stepping stone path from the front yard on the left (photos at the end of this house post, here).

The next step for our grand plan was to add the two maple trees in the back yard to help add some shade and some relief to our too open backyard.  We've enjoyed the wide open grass area for running and playing, but know that adding trees will add to the cozy factor of the yard and much needed shade.

We've had a love affair with Maple Trees for a while.  We spent many days admiring them when we lived in New England - on our walks in Concord, Ma., driving to Deerfield, Ma., and (our favorite) trips to Vermont.

Here are some of my favorite New England Fall Folidage posts from the past :

Concord Mass Fall Foliage
Deerfield Mass Village & Homes Tour
Vermont (Lots of posts)
Nantucket Fall Trip
Bedford Post Inn, New York

The decision of what kind of Maple Tree was next.  Because we don't live in Vermont, we wanted to make sure we picked a variety that would thrive here.  Factors I considered :

- Color
- Fast Growing (we desperately need shade!)
- Shape : Oval, but wide spreading.

We considered Celebration Maple, Autumn Blaze & October Glory, as these three had the largest selection available in our area.  For local shoppers, we purchased ours at Suburban Lawn & Garden.

While shopping, I found myself leaning toward the October Glory because it seemed the fullest and healthiest looking.  It sealed the deal when we had a great costumer assistant tell us that he grew up with an October Glory in his backyard.  He says he still remembers how it created the most amazing, warm light in his childhood kitchen in the afternoon.  Sold.

Here is what I learned about October Glories :

"Quality shade trees can take a bit longer to mature than other fast-growing trees, but the October Glory Maple is an exception. This special selection of the native red maple will grow at least three feet a year, so rapidly turns from a young tree into a mature tree in a short time. - http://www.thetreecenter.com/october-glory-maple/

"This Red Maple (Acer rubrum October Glory) is known for its rapid growth and enduring fall color. In fact, its “October Glory” display of orange-red leaves lasts far longer than many other Maples. 
For several weeks you will be treated to one of the most vibrant displays of any tree in your neighborhood. It would look spectacular in your yard as a central focus, or equally at home near other plantings due to its narrow, upward growth.
October Glory is one of the most popular Maples for many reasons.  Tiny spots of fiery red flower clusters appear on the bare branches in the spring while the rest of your yard is still muted in browns and greys. 
The birds will flock to the small, elongated red fruits that accompany the flowers.  Glossy green leaves will appear next, some slightly tinted with a reddish hue.  As summer progresses, your Maple will grow 2 feet or more, achieving an oval-rounded form for optimal shade." -http://www.naturehills.com/red-maple-october-glory

We planned to purchase substantial size trees to help with shading the back of our house sooner rather than later.  Were were advised to not buy a tree any larger than a 3" diameter - meaning the trunk is 3" in diameter.  This means the tree is about 12-14 years old.  Maple trees grow 2ft taller each year.  Our trees are about 20 ft tall and will grow almost 2 ft every year.   Here they are as they arrived.

We really debated on planting the trees our selves, but decided that we better leave such large trees to a professional.  The delivery fee was about half of the planting fee, so even if we had them deliver it, the savings of digging, removing the dirt, staking and mulching the trees were minimal.  It took them about two hours to complete the job.  I'm pretty sure it would've taken Mike and me an entire weekend and a rented truck.

This is the view from our bathroom upstairs.  They were much bigger trees than I remembered.  I was afraid that when they showed up and where planted that they would seem smaller.

Out of the kitchen window.

I can't wait to watch them change color in the next couple of weeks!

They really make the yard feel cozier and more lush.  Now, I'm off to water them - again : )
Heirloom pumpkin
fall decor
Stews & Soups
autumn scone recipes
pumpkin floral
Fall Entertaining favorite recipes
fall linen Tea Towels &
my favorite fall candles
chocolate molten cakes in cupcake
sides & salads
camel & Grey
my favorite fall candles
mini paper tart pans
oak tree stationery
organizing my craft supplies
item11 item10 fallhead item20