nourishing & unapologetic
On a scale of the Grinch to Buddy, I'm here. ------>
People, we're 10 days away from Christmas.
I'm not ready. Let's tally shall we.
Decorated tree: yes.
Lights on house: yes. (thanks, Husband!)
Christmas music on blast: mostly not.
Presents bought: five.
Holiday treats made: 1 batch of cookies.
Christmas card designed: almost.
Christmas cards sent: zero.
Looks like I have my work cut out for me.
There's something about this time of year that makes us all feel obligated to do, to give, to see, to enjoy. We cover our houses with tchotchkes, trees, and more. We jam pack our schedules with get-togethers, dinners, and outings. We jot self-allocated tasks on to our seemingly endless to-do lists. We indulge in extra sweets and drinks we might normally skip. We force our families to carve time out to snap perfect card-worthy, smiling photos. We search high and low for just the perfect gift for someone, who, in reality, probably doesn't need a single thing.
Whew, that doesn't actually sound joyful at all.
But, really even in the hustle and bustle and verge of panic, I think this season is fab. All of the things, obligations, tasks, and treats...they exist because, all in all, life is usually pretty good. Good, of course, is relative. It's in the eye of the beholder. This isn't the most wonderful time of the year for everyone. Though, from my vantage point, albeit a cocoa-fueled, elf-inspired, Christmas light glow haze, December is pretty grand.
Let's reframe. We fill our homes with lights, glitter, and ribbon and trim our trees with sentimental ornaments. We see our nearest and dearest, and the far-flung friends too, at the get-togethers, dinners, and outings. We run around our communities checking things off our to-do lists. We help someone in need or donate items to a local drive. We indulge in delightful sweets and drinks without worrying about the calorie count. We make time to capture a memory or two that graces our annual Christmas card which we can share with people who matter to us. We search high and low for just the gift that will make someone else's eyes light up on Christmas morning.
Ah, perspective. It's a beautiful thing.
Let's all take a moment to remember that our too much means there's not too little. This time of year is our annual reminder to pause, to enjoy, to celebrate, to take stock of our abundance, and to give thanks. I'm challenging myself to take advantage of this season. All of it.
Let's relish the love, the goodies, the time, and otherwise.
Spread cheer or tidings (or whatever) however you please.
Join me, won't you?
Until next time--
<a href="http://www.bloglovin.com/blog/14590149/?claim=vguf98sh4b9">Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>
Fall is my favorite season. Except for summer because it's my favorite too. They each offer their own distinct temperatures, festivities, and food... I guess we'll call it a draw between the two. But the one thing fall has over summer is that Nick and I officially met in the fall--October 1st to be exact. Our first months of dating fell during the magical time of the year. And we chose to get married in September so maybe I ought to reconsider their rankings... in the meantime, let's talk about how this header picture came to be.
I'd already decorated our home accordingly and I felt like there was more fall fun to be had. I wanted to go apple picking as I'd never been (and neither had Nick). So, during our Anniversary month, I hopefully sought out a local apple orchard. How lucky was it to actually find one?! We tooled on over near Newton, KS (just about 35 minutes from our westside neighborhood) and visited Entz Orchard.
Talk about a gem! Elaine, the owner and grower, and her family have been growing apples at Entz for about 20 years. The orchard is as easy-going as Elaine. It's a peaceful and fun activity for a couple, family, or group of friends. You can pick at your own pace, sample as you go, and soak up the sun that peaks in through the tree rows. You pay by the weight and prices are good. Entz grows many popular varieties and some relatively unknown too. My new favorite, the Criterion apple, a green to gold apple that's fleshy and sweet, and, from what we've heard, pretty versatile. Nick was partial to the Braeburns which was surprising as he's usually a Pink Lady or Honeycrisp guy.
We picked til our bags were full and walked away with about $30 of apples plus a brand new memory and tradition. (I should have posted this sooner so those in our area could make their way to the orchard for fun of their own. I think there might be a week or so left for picking based on what Elaine said is the usual season. It's worth the quick drive and loads of fun.)
I thought I'd immediately bake apple crisp or a pie, but the apples were sooooo good to eat my hurry dissipated. Now almost a month later, we still have good apples and company coming. So, I seized the opportunity to bake with some of the Entz apples.
Enter Caramel Apple Monkey Bread. This is now a new fall favorite, or as Nick says a "menu item" when he really likes something. It's an excellent combination of carbs, caramel, cinnamon, and of course, apples. This original recipe comes from Mom on Timeout and I didn't tweak it other than the apple type used.
Caramel Apple Monkey Bread
Original Recipe created by Mom on Timeout
Semi-homemade Monkey Bread (Step 1)
2 cans homestyle refrigerated buttermilk biscuits (I used Pillsbury Grands)
2 cups apples, chopped into small pieces (~1/2" cubes)
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Simple Caramel Sauce (Step 2)
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup salted butter
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
Sugar Coating (Step 3)
4-5 tablespoons salted butter, melted
1 cup brown sugar
Semi-homemade Monkey Bread
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray bundt pan with non-stick spray.
2. Open biscuits and divide each biscuit into quarters (16 biscuits, 64 quarters total)
3. Mix brown sugar, sugar, and cinnamon in a medium to large bowl. Toss the apples in mixture.
4. Separate out 1/2 cup of apples.
5. Smoosh/flatten a biscuit quarter and fold around a piece of apple. Be sure to seal the edges. Repeat until all biscuit quarters have been used. (I had apples left so I used them within the layers, more on that later.)
Simple Caramel Sauce
1. Melt butter, brown sugar, and heavy whipping cream in small sauce pan.
2. Bring to boil.
3. Cook about 3 minutes, stirring often.
4. Pour about 1/3 of the caramel into the greased bundt pan.
Making the Bread
1. Sprinkle half of the reserved apples on the caramel.
2. Roll each biscuit round in melted butter and brown sugar.
3. Put about 20 biscuit rounds in the bundt pan on top of the caramel and apples.
4. Pour another 1/3 of the caramel sauce on the rounds. Sprinkle the remaining apples on this layer.
5. Place remaining biscuit rounds in pan.
6. Pour remaining caramel sauce over rounds.
1. Bake in the oven for about 40 minutes. (feel free to put some foil on the rack below your pan to prevent a mess!)
Make sure that the top of your bread doesn't brown too much; tent with foil if needed.
2. Let cool in bundt pan for at least 30 minutes before turning out to a plate. (I let mine sit probably 45 minutes to an hour).
3. Enjoy! *We had ours warm for breakfast with quiche but this totally dessert worthy too.
(Forgive my lack of photos. I got absorbed in the process.)
Okay, I am making a concentrated effort to blog more. So you'll be hearing from me soon. Happy fall to y'all! Until next time.