Autumn Party Under the Yellow Maple










How to Make an Apple Pie...at the Incredible Food Show


The Incredible Food Show is today~ If you are downtown for it, please stop by and say hello. I'll be offering an Apple Pie making demo at 1:30. Tyler Florence will be there as well....so will some of my foodie friends like BraveTart. 
Fun day ahead. And for those that didn't see the Apple Pie video Mike and I produced a few months back~ here it is again.

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Warren County History Center Christmas Luncheon

I was surprised and honored to receive an email a few months back from a history museum back in my home state of Ohio asking if I'd consider talking about the holidays. How could I say no? Christmastime is undoubtedly one of the best times of the year and for my family, its incredibly meaningful. I am delighted to share what I've learned along the way to make Christmas at our home thoughtful and memorable.



So, come have lunch with me!  I’ll be the featured speaker at a special Lunch & Learn event on Saturday, November 3, 11a-2pm, at the Warren County History Center in historic downtown Lebanon, Ohio.
I’ll be sharing some simple ideas on how to have your home tell a story for Christmas. Some really talented local interior designers will also be showcasing Christmas displays to inspire your holiday home d├ęcor. (Click the sidebar button over there to the right for more information.)
The luncheon is catered and the admission cost for the event is $25 with seats limited to 75 guests.  Paid reservations are required; call 513-932-1817 to get your tickets before they’re gone.


I've never toured around Lebanon but I hear its incredibly charming. I'm hoping to get some antique shopping and chocolate eating in afterwards. Here's just a bit more about the town. Depending on where you're traveling from, its an ideal day or weekend trip. And I'm predicting we'll still have some fall foliage bursting with color next weekend as well~
Let me know if you can make the trip! I hope I'll see some of you there~
Lebanon, Ohio was voted Best Hometown 2012 by Ohio Magazine and is great destination for a Girls Day Out!  Grab a few friends for a fun road trip and make plans to walk the brick sidewalks of Lebanon to visit The Golden Lamb, Ohio’s oldest Inn and Restaurant, go treasure hunting in one of downtown Lebanon’s antique shops, or indulge your sweet tooth at The Golden Turtle Chocolate Factory after lunch is over. 



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Delta Airlines Biscoff Cookie Recipe

I've just returned from Phoenix, Arizona where I had the amazing chance to speak at the MBA International Women's Leadership Conference on a CEO panel. I sat in front of hundreds of MBA women and spoke alongside some really incredible CEO's from some of the top companies in the country (Goldman Sachs and Microsoft to name just a couple). I was there on behalf of CAKE&WHISKEY...what an honor. 
More about the conference and the magazine another day, today is all about those cookies. If you fly, you know what I'm talking about. Those cookies. The red package of Biscoff cookies that flight attendants now feed us when we get our small plastic cup of cranberry juice (my flight beverage of choice..what's yours?)

The one request Canaan had before I left was for airplane cookies. Unfortunately its hard to sweet talk additional packages and I came home empty handed. So today, still sporting comfy pajamas at 1 pm, tired eyes and raspy voice, I decided to attempt making a batch of biscoff cookies. The result was pretty stellar. A tad less "spicy" than the airplane variety~ so if you like a lot of kick to your spice cookies, feel free to up the dry spice ingredients a bit.











These cookies are so simple to make. I like to chill the dough a bit and roll it between parchment paper. Super clean that way and the cookie thickness tends to be a bit more even. I also like to make my own brown sugar (sugar & molasses) in the food processor. Easy peasy. And finally, I experimented with the baking time a bit; cooking some longer for a crispier crunch and some a little less. After a couple of hours, they all seemed to maintain pretty much the same level of crunchiness, no matter the hue.



Biscoff Cookies
from cupcakeproject.com

2 C all-purpose flour
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp each of:
     ginger
     allspice
     cloves
     baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder

1 C room temperature butter
1/2 C sugar
1/4 C brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

  • Preheat oven to 350 F.
  • In a medium-sized bowl, mix together flour, spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, and cloves), baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  • In a separate large bowl, cream together butter, sugar, and brown sugar with an electric mixer on low speed. Mix in the vanilla extract.
  • Gradually blend the flour mixture into the butter mixture until it is well combined.
  • Roll out dough to 1/4 inch thickness. From here, you can either bake it as a large sheet of cookies to cut later, or, you can use cookie cutters to make cookie shapes.
  • If you choose to bake it as a large sheet, bake for 20-25 minutes. Cut out cookies to shape as desired.
  • If you choose to bake it as shapes, place dough shapes onto parchment paper and bake for 12-15 minutes.
  • Cool on cooling rack before serving. These are best once they have cooled.


  • More pretty pics right this way...


    The Renaissance Man is now Employed


    This is Mike. Pretty swoon worthy, in my opinion.
    He's a husband (lucky me)
    He's dad to three boys (lucky them)
    He's my daily barista
    He's the studio builder
    And the nightly fireplace fire maker.
    He's the Thai food maker when Michael from Milwaukee isn't here
    The beer brewer
    The often pancake flipper
    A sometimes woodworker
    A sometimes welder
    And the sewing machine fixer guy
    He's the assistant marshmallow maker
    He's the magazine's graphic/tech support guy
    A therapist on my most stressed out days
    And a chocolate buyer (on my most stressed out days)
    He's really funny
    A silly dancer
    A music lover
    A mountain yearner
    He's energized by the city
    And loves strong coffee
    He's a great shopping buddy
    And never complains about a trip to the mall
    He's happily Mr. Mom this week while I fly across the country for a conference
    oh.....and after nearly 2 years of an unexpected layoff~ he's now employed (with his dream job).

    (collective sigh of relief)

    **more on that journey soon~ a family of 5 enduring a 2 year layoff is.a.journey
    I'm sure some of you can identify.

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    Meandering

    The boys started Fall Break on Friday. No big plans in store, so we woke up Friday morning with a full day of wide open schedule in front of us~
    We sent Mike off to work and piled in the car for a drive. Destination, bakery. The camera was a last minute grab. Darn those camera phones! I find myself bringing my camera on less and less outings in favor of the lightweight, portability of my back pocket phone.
    But with camera in the passengers seat and three boys in the back~ Canaan with his favorite book, Farmer Boy (4th time reading it since the first grade), Ezra with nothing but his eyes on the scenery, and Otto with his favorite dog, we headed out of town towards a small town bakery in the middle of horse country.
    So on Friday, with Farmer Boy, dog, camera and bellies full of baked goods we stumbled across an empty field with an old log cabin~ which screamed  "photo opportunity"! I think you'll agree~
    You can see the full Flickr photostream here.







    Sweet Potato Apple Butter Muffins






    This week I made it my goal to use up the food that's been in the fridge/freezer/pantry and start fresh. Ingenuity and creativity in the kitchen are spectacular in times like these. Last night I finished up the last of the frozen fish, head of cabbage, radishes and cornmeal with a fun take on Baja Fish Tacos. Dessert was a tricky one to pull off. Some sweet potatoes, a stick of butter and....well I was stuck. I went searching online and found a recipe that set me on the right course. I dug out the apple butter I had canned from last season, scavenged for some walnuts tucked away on the shelf and came up with this. It worked. Super moist, incredibly easy, ridiculously delicious and even slightly healthy muffins.
    I made both small and large muffins (different cooking times.) The large ones received a dollop of cream cheese in the center. The small muffins were sans cream cheese. Whichever way suits you~
    This recipe makes a large batch. Perfect for freezing and popping in a school lunch or as a snack on a road trip.
     
    Sweet Potato Muffins
    (adapted from One Hungry Mama)
    Makes 6 large muffins + 18 mini muffins
    1/2 stick unsalted butter at room temperature + more for greasing pan
    2 c light brown sugar
    4 large eggs
    1 tsp vanilla extract
    1 c apple butter (I used homemade sugar free. Recipe here)
    1 ½ c sweet potato puree (1 large sweet potato, cooked)
    3 c flour
    ¼ c ground walnuts
    1 ½ tsp baking powder
    ½ tsp baking soda
    1 tsp salt
    2 tsp cinnamon
    1. Preheat oven to 350°F. In the meantime, cream butter and sugar with an electric mixer. Brown sugar is grainier than sugar and won’t cream the same way—it’ll work fine so long as they are well mixed.
    2. Add eggs, vanilla, apple butter and sweet potato to butter-sugar combo and mix well on low speed.
    3. Combine all dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Slowly add to the wet ingredients while continuing to mix on low speed.
    4. Fill each muffin pan fairly full. If using cream cheese, fill up each muffin pan 1/2 full and dollop 2 Tbsp. cream cheese into the middle and spoon more muffin mixture to cover.
    5. Bake for 18-20 minutes for mini muffins and 20-25 for large. Muffins are done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean (except for some cream cheese filling)! Allow muffins to cool in tray for about 5 minutes. Finish cooling on a baking rack.