I love Mules because they’re so simple to throw together, the variations are endless, and they’re always just crisp and refreshing with that bubbly ginger beer finish. I’ve seen a few variations of these Apple Cider Moscow Mules and planned to add pomegranate and all these other flavors, but honestly the plain Jane version is where it’s at. Just 4 ingredients and easy to double or triple the recipe when making this for a large group.
I’ve been on a roll with making soups lately and can you blame me? Once the cold weather hits, all you want is something delicious that warms your bones and this Spicy Cilantro Lime Sweet Potato Soup does just the trick. This is also one of the easiest soup that I’ve made to date. The sweet potato, onion, and red bell pepper get roasted to perfection in the oven while a simple mix of chicken broth, lime zest, juice, and fresh cilantro simmer together in the stock pot. Throw it all together, blend, and you’re done! It makes for a bright, spicy, and flavorful soup that’s perfect to enjoy on those cold winter days.
And bonus: This is a good one to make a double batch of and freeze half of it for later!
I sometimes day dream about this fantasy day off where I can spend all day just making one delicious and visually stunning dessert.. particularly a pie. The reality is that my days off are so packed full/interrupted/sometimes non-existent, I have to really maximize my time and choose recipes that are going to be quick and easy for you to make too. I also have baked and blogged long enough to know that if you invest your time and heart into ONE seemingly perfect recipe.. it’s often the one that ends in disaster and you’re out time, money, and food. The point I’m getting at is that sometimes delicious decadent food doesn’t have to take all day and these Pumpkin Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies are proof!
It was like combining elements of my favorite pies (pumpkin and pecan), but without the fancy crust work and painstakingly slow cook and cool time. Every bite had gooey melted chocolate chips, crunchy pecans, and fluffy pumpkin spiced cookie. And they’re just as scrumptious and fresh tasting today as they were 4 days ago, so they’re a great make-ahead dessert.
I’ll admit it right now.. I’ve always been a winter hater. Waking up extra early to scrape about an inch of ice off your windshield, white knuckle driving icy/snowy roads, negative temperatures that give you a brain freeze when you step outside… I can keep going, but I think you get the picture. We got our first taste of what’s to come when it snowed a few days before Halloween. I did my best to enjoy how pretty the falling snow was and make some hearty, filling, warming to the bones kind of soup… that of course involved beer… and I came up with this Loaded Baked Potato IPA Soup.
If a baked potato and beer cheese soup had a delicious baby.. this would be it. Made with chunks of baked potato, double smoked bacon, white cheddar, and Exile’s Dankalope IPA. I served mine up with some freshly baked sourdough bread and of course an icy cold beer to wash it down. If this is what winter could be like.. I think this might be the year I finally embrace it!
The last three weeks in a nutshell: I officiated my 2nd wedding, turned the ripe age of thirty-one, went hiking through caves, started horseback riding lessons again, came down with a cold, and bought a new(er) car… oh and I’m kicking butt at work! 😉
It felt good to write all of that because I’m constantly feeling like I’m failing. But when I actually step back and look at my accomplishments, adventures, moments with friends and family, and making time for the things I love.. I realize that I’m doing okay with this juggling act of life. Maybe that’s something we all need to do more often. I know some amazing hardworking women that juggle motherhood, going back to school, working multiple jobs, running their own business, etc.. and I don’t think we take the time to step back and really appreciate just how much we’re capable of. And that we are all doing the best that we can and sometimes that just needs to be enough.
So let me go back to the beginning… If you didn’t already know, I became an ordained minister to marry my parents several years ago. Two of our good friends were tying the knot at the end of September and hadn’t yet found a minister to make it official. After I told them the story of how I married my parents in front of a waterfall in Oregon, the bride asked if I would do the honor. I quickly accepted and then realized I have a major fear of public speaking and would be officiating this wedding in front of 120+ people…
After practicing several times and choosing a high-neck blouse so no one could see me break out into red splotchy patches due to nerves.. it went perfectly! They even forgot to bring the microphone up so I had to speak even louder and it still went great! Jerrica was incredibly sweet and handed her bouquet off to me at the end of the night. It was a huge honor to be able to officiate and celebrate this wonderful couple. Congratulations yet again to Mr. and Mrs. Yasumura!
The very next day was my birthday and we celebrated by driving three and a half hours east to the Maquoketa Caves State Park. I hadn’t been there since I was a little kid, so we spent the day hiking through various caves, encountering several very scary and territorial woodchucks, and enjoyed a little picnic and beers. We got back into town late, but stopped off at my parents where my mom presented me an awesome spiderweb cake, we grilled out, and ended the night with a birthday bonfire.
That same week I started horseback riding again, painted pumpkins and watched Hocus Pocus with my niece and nephew, and we caught our first movie at the Iowa Theater in Winterset: Dracula! Every Wednesday they have Way Back Wednesday and play some of the classics. Last week was Bride of Frankenstein and last night was my favorite… Creature From The Black Lagoon! And I’m thinking a Creature inspired cocktail should be my next drink post.. what do you think?
I’m trying to squeeze a lot into this week again, so be sure to follow along on Instagram for all the adventures!
Have a great week!
We’re in the season of all things pumpkin (not to worry.. this hummus isn’t pumpkin spice flavored) and I couldn’t think of a better fall snack than this Garlic Rosemary Pumpkin Hummus! Made with pumpkin puree, goat cheese, fresh garlic, and rosemary.. it’s extra smooth, rich, and loaded with fall flavors. I topped mine off with extra olive oil, goat cheese crumbles, and toasted pumpkin seeds for a little crunch. The batch I made is nearly gone, so I’ll be making this again soon!
Sometimes you want your burger to be a little bit extra, but rather than pay for a jazzed up version from a restaurant, there’s a few simple elements you can add for a different take on the traditional hamburger. There’s also no need to own a grill to make these sliders since they cook up in a cast iron skillet in a matter of minutes. Although that smoky grill flavor sure can’t be beat, using a skillet allowed me to cook these to juicy perfection! Combined with a sweet and savory caramelized onion jam, crunchy strips of Panko breaded jalapeño, and crumbles of herb infused goat cheese… these skillet sliders were devoured in a matter of seconds!
My garden this year was delayed by Spring rains and moving into the house, so here it is mid-September and I’ve got an abundance of green tomatoes still on the vine. I’m incredibly impatient, so I put them to use in this fresh and Spicy Green Tomato Bloody Mary mix! Cooked down with fresh herbs also from the garden and then pureed, this non-traditional concoction is bright with flavor and a lingering heat from a spicy salsa verde! [Read more…]
Today might be the official launch of pumpkin spice everything, but I wanted to leave my summer lovers with one last cocktail to enjoy the end of the season with. A mix of fresh pineapple, lime, basil, and mint steeped in white wine and rum for several days makes for a fruity and potent summer sangria. I topped mine off with a little champagne for a nice crisp finish and of course the best part is eating all the booze soaked fruit at the end!
Photo by Raelyn Ramey Photography
I kept feeling like somehow summer passed me by this year, but after writing this post and going through the hundreds of photos I took over the last 3 months, I realize I’ve just been incredibly busy! I actually feel like I really made the most of the free time I did have in between house projects and work. The one thing I was disappointed about was letting writing and creating new posts fall by the wayside. I’ve been doing this long enough now though to realize it isn’t the end of the world (or your blog) if you take some time off (planned or unplanned). It’s also sometimes completely necessary so that you can spend some time recharging and dreaming up new content. With fall being my favorite season, it’s also when I feel most creative, so I can’t wait to get to work on some brand new projects and recipes for you!
As I said, I did make sure to schedule in some much needed fun between all the crazy times and Hinterland was at the top of the list! We spent the weekend with friends and enjoyed the killer line ups they had both Friday and Saturday (Kacey Musgraves, Hozier, The Dead South, St Paul & The Broken Bones, Colter Wall, & Jason Isbell to name a few). We spent Sunday in recovery mode, but it was well worth it.
We also made some time for a little park date night and explored Clark Tower finally. I can’t believe we have so many cool parks and places to explore just minutes from our house!
Most nights we spend outside either running around with Kita, picking flowers, having a little bonfire, or trying to sweet talk the new “neighbors” that moved in. Yes.. we have cattle neighbors right now. One I’ve nicknamed Houdini because he continues to slip through the fence and we have to get him back over… except that one time he came charging at me and took off down the road. It’s been a learning experience to say the least!
In June we walked down to the field behind our house to see what was growing and discovered an unexpected amenity. In Iowa it’s typically corn or soy beans growing in a field, but this was something completely different. It honestly looked like acres and acres of weeds until the next week it bloomed into beautiful pink cone flowers. We learned that a seed company plants huge fields of wildflowers around the county, then harvests and sells them. Another friend that lives nearby (hey Raelyn!) discovered more of these wildflower fields and we actually did a photo shoot in one of them (I’ve linked all the gals that made the magic happen so check out their pages for more photos).
Also growing like crazy is my tiny little garden! The cucumbers are consuming the stair railing and my pepper plants are thriving despite some damage from storms… oh and me falling on top of one of course. I was pretty disappointed when I realized I wouldn’t have the time to set up a big walk in garden like I did in the past at my parent’s home, but it goes to show you that you can still produce a lot with just a little space.
Since I feel like I’ve got a bit of a fresh slate heading back into a more regular posting schedule, I open it up to you… What is it that you enjoy seeing or reading more of? House before and afters? Cocktails? Quick dinner ideas? Daily Life posts? Home DIY’s? Leave a comment below or shoot me a message through Instagram and let me know! 🙂
Have a great weekend!