Fall Woodland Bouquet in Blue Mason Jar for Party Table Setting


Went for a walk through the woods with one of my little ones yesterday and was shocked to see how many flowers, pods, and seeds are still growing and hanging on to their branches. We gathered some, but it didn't seem right to make a fall bouquet without including some brightly colored leaves. Instead of arranging them above water, though, I decided to submerge them inside the mason jar. This not only gives a an anchoring pop of color, but it also serves to purpose of disguising the stems!

Table Setting Ideas for Fall and Thanksgiving Parties

Setting a table for dinner parties is one of my favorite things to do when having guests over. I recently saw this beautiful table setting at Crate and Barrel in Manhattan. Though it may be a bit too bountiful for a real dinner, you can take elements from this design for your next affair. I like the trio of candles grouped in a single setting or in multiple grouping and the hurricane candles surrounded by acorns. Both would make impactful modern centerpieces accented by a seasonal and natural element.


Moist & Chewy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookie Recipe


The weather is finally cooling down, so it's time stock your pantry with pumpkin pie filling! And there is nothing cozier than baking on a rainy fall day! And the bonus is, these moist pumpkin cookies make great after-school snacks for the kiddos and are a more nutritious treat for your Halloween party than the usual pre-packaged candy.

I baked a large bunch of these cookies for a two-day lettering class my husband was teaching at Cooper Union last weekend. They were hit! (Seriously, I'll use any excuse to bake.)


Moist & Chewy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookie Recipe 
vegan, for gluten-free, use GF equivalents; makes about 3-4 dozen (depending on size)

Ingredients
  • 2 cups unbleached flour (You can mix up it by using 1/2 whole wheat or spelt.)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 sticks Earth Balance vegan buttery sticks (1/2 cup)
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 TB molasses
  • 1/4 cup vegan vanilla yogurt
  • 1 TB cornstarch
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (plain)
  • 2 cups oats
  • 1 bag semisweet chocolate chips (chunks are great too)
  • 1 cup organic raisins
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Line a cookie pan with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk together dry ingredients in a medium bowl, set aside.
  3. In a mixer, blend together margarine and sugars until fluffy. Add molasses, yogurt, cornstarch, vanilla and pumpkin and mix.
  4. Add dry mix to wet mix, combine. Add oats, combine. Fold in chocolate chips, raisins and walnuts. Tip: If your batter seems too "melty," set in the fridge for a couple of minutes to firm up.
  5. Scoop TB-sized balls onto parchment paper and bake for 10 minutes. Let cool for a minute or two before transferring to wire cooling rack. Tip: For larger cookies (like in the picture above), scoop 1/4 cup of the batter and bake for 12-13 minutes.

Easy Baked Butternut Squash, Cauliflower, & Chickpea Chili Recipe


Though the weather was balmy last weekend, this week has proved itself to be more autumnal. When the thermometer starts dipping down into the 60s, that means I start cranking up the oven. I have this nesting instinct in the fall and winter that causes me to bake, and even though I am trying to lay off consuming sweets, that doesn't mean that I still can't bake.

I have always loved casserole-type meals; they are easy, take care of themselves, and are always warm and nourishing. Butternut squash is a great vegetable for cooking this way, but since Mr. Scissors has declared that he is tired of mashed squash, I had to come up with something that was less sweet and more savory. Chili spices seemed to me like they would do the trick! I love the sweet, savory and spicy combo of this veggie-heavy chili.

Easy Baked Butternut Squash, Cauliflower, & Chickpea Chili Recipe
vegan, gluten-free, make about 4-6 servings

Ingredients

  • 3 cups of peeled and cubed butternut squash (insides removed, of course)
  • 1/2 head of cauliflower, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 15 oz. can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 15 oz. can of fire-roasted tomatoes (You can used diced tomatoes here instead, or ones with jalapenos. If you would like a wetter chili, then use two cans.)
  • 2 TB oil (I used olive, but use your favorite type.)
  • 2 TB cumin
  • 2 TB chili powder
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes (Adjust to your tastes.)
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 TB cocoa powder
  • 1 TB brown sugar
  • 1-2 tsp salt (to your taste) (I used smoked sea salt.)
  • crushed black pepper
  • Optional: garlic and/or onion powder or hing
  • Optional: One chopped red bell pepper (I would have added one if I had one!)

(L) The chili, pre-baking and (R) Two of my favorite seasonings from Trader Joe's



Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425.
  2. In a large casserole dish (9x12"), coat pan with oil. Add spices and cocoa powder. Mix.
  3. Place, in an even layer, into the dish: First, butternut squash, red peppers (if using), then cauliflower, then, chickpeas, then tomatoes. Cover pan with tin foil.
  4. Bake for 45 minutes and remove from oven. CAREFULLY uncover pan (watch out for steam!) and  turn over veggie and add brown sugar. Bake for an additional 10 minutes.
  5. Remove form oven and add salt and black pepper. Serve over rice, couscous, or quinoa.

Cycling & R&R at the Delaware Beaches During Indian Summer

Rehoboth Beach, DE on a Saturday in early October! Amazing!
This weekend, we took advantage of the lingering warm weather and headed down to the Delaware beaches for some much needed R&R and biking along the scenic Junction and Breakwater Trail

Kids being kids

Sea shadows!

On Friday, we practically had the entire beach to ourselves and the kids happily dug in the sand for hours finding all sorts of sea treasures and crabs. The weather was perfect and the entire mood of the day was so peaceful.

Beautiful colors. Hopefully this crab just needs to regrow another claw.

Vintage Delmarva Map

Flowers still blooming in Rehoboth
On Saturday, we took a really long bike ride through the trail, into Rehoboth Beach, and into Cape Henlopen State Park where we took the Gordon's Pond Trail (which is only open for a few months out of the year because it is a nature preserve). The sights were incredible, and looked almost what we could imagine Africa to look like. We could only do part of the trail because it was too hard to pull the kids in the trailer over the soft sand, but would love to do the entirety of it when we the kids are older.

Gordon's Pond in Henlopen State Park

An Apple (& Pumpkin) Picking Moment

These crispy fruits are in the orchards of Linvilla in Media, PA

Because this fall is going to be a busy one for us with lots of traveling and projects, we wanted to make sure we didn't lose all that is autumn (our favorite season!) in the hustle. The family took in the harvest bounty last Sunday to make sure we kicked off the season right, and of course that meant apple picking at Linvilla Orchards. The kids absolutely loved apple picking; so much so that they wanted to keep going, but we knew 30 lbs. of apples would probably mostly go to waste, so we limited them to about ten in total. We then headed over to the "pumpkin patch" to chose some gourds for eating and decorating. Can't wait to see what Mr. Scissors does with his Halloween pumpkin this year!