November was a blur. It didn’t feel the biggest month in the kitchen. Being away one weekend, a cold, and a babe with hand/foot/month made the month fuzzy. My college roomies and I had a weekend to CT to some wineries. It was magical. The best. These ladies bring me such joy and make me a better person. It was so wonderful.
I love love loved this butternut squash soup with apple cider and brown butter. It might be repeated for Thanksgiving. I also re-made a Greek Lemon & Orzo Soup that uses chicken, tons of lemon, and tons of oregano. It freezes well and was my lunch for a few days at work.
This little blog turned 9! Wow!
I made some gingerbread syrup to put in coffee and I can see it being great in hot chocolate or tea.
I want to document the burger finals but just haven’t collected the photos. I didn’t take many myself but it was such a big deal for my fall that I would like to be able to look back on it. I’ll get on it, courtesy of my personal photographer/webmaster/cheerleader. I’m not sure what’s ahead in December. It seems like a busy time of year so maybe I’ll sneak in some quick/make-ahead/healthy options.
The Preschooler Guy:
He’s doing go well at school! I’m glad to hear he’s making friends and is behaving. He loves it. I love seeing his mind churn and make connections. I’m proud of him being brave to answer strangers and to jump into activities when his natural inclination is to hang back at first. He’s suddenly into flavored instant oatmeal, which is awesome to expand some bfast options. On the other hand, he’s not wanting sandwiches again, which totally inhibits lunch options. His Halloween candy will last him forever.
The Toddler Girl:
She’s obsessed with a baby doll she got last year for Christmas. She’s now pacifier-free! She did it! She was such a champ through hand, foot, and mouth. This girl is so easy-going but feisty. I can see her snag her brother’s stuff, watch him to see if he notices, and put up a fight when he tries to get it back. She totally knows what’s up. She is good with routines- when we get home she puts her own shoes away and follows brother to wash her hands. It is adorable! She loves all food and can totally put it away. We’re so impressed with her ability to use a fork.
This year’s Goals:
Year of beauty! The face masks have been fun!
Prep intentional sides and veggies: I’ve prepped a few more to have ready to go. The baby loved some sautéed mushrooms.
Eat more fish: I don’t know that we had any in Nov
Blog some series: Hmm. I’m thinking about what’ll be December.
Focus decluttering/organizing to an area: Toys and such got a bit more put-away while having to decontaminate everything amidst hand, food & mouth.
Share more books on instagram: I added a few to stories for me and a few picture books.
Prioritize workouts: I’m 40/100 through 100 morning meltdown.
What I’m reading: I breezed through When We Were Strangers
What I’m listening to: Be There in Five‘s episodes about purity culture called “Love Weights”. They’re long but ohh-so worth it.
What I’m watching: We got really into a docu-series by CNN, Declassified: Untold Stories of American Spies
Enjoy Thanksgiving!! I’m thankful for so many things- including you who read this!
Gingerbread lattes! Gingerbread americanos! Gingerbread hot chocolates! The possibilities are endless! I 100% wait until after Thanksgiving for Christmas things but these flavors felt fall enough to fit this week of Thanksgiving.
(makes ~2 cups, or 12 servings. Half unless gifting!)
1 cup water
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tbs honey
2 tbs molasses
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp grated or minced ginger
1 strip orange peal
Heat everything together and bring to a simmer. Simmer for about 5 minutes.
Pour through a mesh strainer, or through a cheese cloth, or through a coffee filter.
Stir into coffee and top with frothed milk. (Microwave milk in a glass jar for 15 seconds. Screw on the top and shake vigorously.)
Top with whipped cream and an extra sprinkle of nutmeg!
I keep fresh ginger in the freezer and use a veggie pealer to shave the skin off and then chop or grate. It lasts forever and is a great addition to peanut sauce or smoothies too.
I loved this! It was such a fun treat to have on hand! It is delightful in coffee or in hot chocolate. The flavor is strong so a tablespoon felt like plenty in a cup. This makes more than enough so I’ll half it next time.
9 years old?!?! How’s that possible!
This was a big and full year. I’m so glad to have the blog as a creative outlet. I think I’m my best when I am doing “all the things” even if each doesn’t shine 100% of the time. I tried to let myself take it slow when blogging just isn’t quite fitting in, but overall I’ve been active here. Thank you for joining me! I’m so grateful to hear from folks who have made something or saw something here and it means a lot to me. I love doing it and hope to instill in my little ones that hobbies are wonderful- all while not having phones at the table!
Best Burger: I mean it has to be this one, right? The Parisian Burger is circa 2014 but the competition will be what always stands out for me this year. I did really love this meatloaf burger too with brown sugar ketchup, crispy onions, and greens.
Most Photogenic: Fall Dog with Apple Slaw I’ve yet to source pretzel buns like this again…I’d better search- they seem like an Oktoberfest-ish thing.
Most Repeatable: Crispy Fish Rice Bowl
I think I made more soups and more sandwiches than some years past but definitely fewer pizzas this year.
2019 goals Recap:
Year of ___ decluttering/minimizing/organizing This was a good one for the year. With baby C joining the family and ohh-so-much artwork from Mr. T, relieving our home of stuff is good.
Feeding Littles: I wish I did this more.
Work on advanced food prepping:
What I’m reading: I read 22 books this year! Crazy! My fav was Map of Salt and Stars by Zeyn Joukhadar followed closely by The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah. Find my books and ratings here.
What I’m watching:
This year’s Goals:
Year of beauty! I loved this suggestion and I kicked it off grabbing some face masks before a weekend away with my college roomies. The “year of” are something I like for myself and I don’t want to have to coordinate with anyone else. I’m overdue for some nail polishes newer than my college days, I love face masks, and my hair could use some TLC.
Prep intentional sides and veggies: too often they’re a bit of an afterthought and we could increase the colors and options here.
Eat more fish: I love it, Mr. J is OK with it, and the kids gobble it up so I should keep going there.
Blog some series: these are so fun for me while I’m doing them, I should try some others. I’ve done series of grilled cheeses, series of toast toppings, and I’ll see what else comes to mind!
Focus decluttering/organizing to an area I think I (or Mr. J) did our most impactful work when doing one little spot at a time. There’s more to do!
Share more books on instagram: I had some stories of kids books and couldn’t believe when I got actual responses and people without kids asking about more of them. It made my heart swell as something I love.
Prioritize workouts: I started Beachbody On Demand doing the Morning Meltdown 100 and I’m loving it.
What I’m reading: 20 books feels like a natural benchmark to strive towards
What I’m listening to: I love podcasts and have yet to convince my most talked-to people to also listen so we can discuss.
What I’m watching:
Butternut squash soup seems like a fall a no-brainer. I wanted apple in there and was going to grate some into it, but then I couldn’t bear to undo how silky smooth it was. Then I went to apple cider. It was like pouring liquid gold in there! So good! This is vegetarian, almost dairy-free, and an easy one to prep and freeze, or to have the ingredients
Butternut Squash & Apple Cider Soup
Ingredients: (for ~3 servings)
1 squash (~3 cups of chopped squash)
1/4 cup water
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup broth
3/4 cup apple cider
salt, pepper, and Parmesan for garnish
Cook the butternut squash. (I pressured cooked mine according to the appliance’s instructions- I pealed it, scooped out the seeds, and chopped a bit.)
Cook until totally cooked through. (I cooked it in the pressure cooker with a little water for 4 minutes.)
In a large pot, cook the butter until it browns – just after it foams, watch it brown and then quickly remove the whole pot from the heat so it doesn’t burn. Quickly add in the squash, then the stock, and cook for about 10 minutes over low heat.
Remove from the heat and blend until smooth.
Add in the cider and cook for another 10 minutes.
Enjoy with a sprinkle of parmesan and some cracked black pepper and salt as desired.
I loved this! The brown butter and the apple cider make it so special. I had 2 meal-portions and another smaller portion I froze for another time. My butternut squash was pretty petite- moreso than a usual one.
The pressure cooker made this so fast and easy. It pulverized it, which was perfect for this case but not what I’d always want. My teething-1-year old might say something different though!