Monday, September 30, 2013

What's Fall Without Some Good 'Ole Apple Recipes?!

Since Ryan and I picked a peck of apples in Vermont last weekend, we have been trying feverishly to incorporate them into some recipes- which really isn't that hard since I love cooking with apples anyways! This weekend alone we made cinnamon applesauce, apple pancakes, and my favorite, a homemade apple cake!

 Now, let me just talk about this apple cake for a minute. This recipe was handed down to me by my mother-in-law, Susan. I've made it so many times and it's always a crowd-pleaser. Plus, it's pretty easy to make! The only downside is that it takes almost an hour and a half to bake, so you have to sit around and smell the deliciousness for a while before you can actually dig in!


  • 1 1/2 cups Vegetable Oil 
  • 2 cups Sugar 
  • 3 Eggs
  • 3 cups All Purpose Flour
  • 1 cup Chopped Nuts (I use walnuts) 
  • 1 tsp. Salt 
  • 1 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 2 tsp. Vanilla extract
  • 3-4 large Apples, chopped

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. 

Combine oil, sugar, and eggs in a mixer and beat 3 minutes at medium speed. Add vanilla. Add flour, salt, and baking soda a little at a time and mix until well incorporated. Fold in apples and nuts. 

Pour into a lightly greased bundt pan and bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes or until fork is inserted and comes out clean.

Once the cake comes out of the oven, you can begin making the caramel-ish sauce that goes on top.

Sauce Ingredients: 

  • 1 stick Butter
  • 1/2 cup Light Brown Sugar
  • 2 tbsp. Milk

Combine all ingredients in a small pot and bring to a boil. Cook 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Pour over cake while it's still in the bundt pan and let cake cool completely before removing. 

Enjoy! It's seriously not fall until I've baked this cake at least once! Thanks for the recipe, Susan!!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Greenest Place On Earth

Last weekend, Ryan and I, along with the Kehners, trekked up to Vermont for a couple days of exploration and relaxation. Although we left on Friday after work, our trip really started Saturday morning since we got stuck in hours of traffic and got to the bed and breakfast at almost midnight.

**Disclaimer- There are an inordinate amount of pictures with a small amount of writing. If you choose to continue on reading this blog post, consider yourself warned. Enjoy!


View from the front porch at our amazing home for the weekend!
Saturday morning, we woke up to an amazing breakfast cooked by the owners of the bed and breakfast we stayed at (Russell Young Farm Bed and Breakfast- check it out!). We quickly showered and headed out to explore Vermont for the rest of the day. Our first stop was a quaint little farmers market in Waitsfield, Ma, where we picked up some AMAZING pesto. On the way to the farmer's market, we stopped on the side of the road to admire the rolling hills of VT. 

Leaving the B&B

Our next stop took us to the Ben and Jerry's factory, where we got to learn some history on B&J's, tour the factory, and eat quite a bit of ice cream! 

Once we had our fill (if that's possible) of B&J's, we got back in the car and just started driving. On the side of the road, I noticed a sign for apple picking, and we immediately headed that way.

We each picked a peck of apples (say that 10x fast), which is way more than I know what to do with, but I'm excited to figure it out! The farm also had a couple hungry horses hanging (again...say that 10x fast) around who we fed quite a few apples to in exchange for a couple pictures.

After apple picking, we made a quick stop at the Cabot Creamery to pick up some cheese and VT wine before heading to our last location of the afternoon. Ryan had researched a small waterfall nearby that he wanted to explore so we made our way there next, passing some covered bridges along the way.

For dinner, we headed to Bristol, VT, where we ate at a restaurant called ND's. It wasn't really anything exciting and our food took FOREVER to come out.. but hey, at least the company was good! The rest of the night was spent sipping wine and playing Yahtzee back at the B&B.


Again, Sunday we woke up to another delicious breakfast. Unfortunately, we had to check out after and say goodbye to our beautiful farm for the weekend. Before we left, I walked around the property and snapped a few pictures.

Oh yeah, did I mention the farm had two Alpacas (named Moose and Max), some ducks, chickens, and a horse or two? 

On the way home, we stopped a few more times: to look at a couple more ancient covered bridges, to explore a maple farm, and to check out the Vermont Country Store. 

At the Maple Farm 
My favorite covered bridge! 

We had an absolutely amazing time exploring Vermont, which seriously moved up the list of my favorite states. Everything about the area we stayed was beautiful and I can't wait to explore the countryside in the wintertime!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Buying a Car With My Salesman/Husband...

...Definitely had it's ups and downs.

Friday night, Ryan and I sold my 2002 Jetta to a nice Turkish family. This happened quicker than we were expecting and left us less time to find a new car before Ryan's work travel plans would take him and his car away from me, leaving me transportation-less. Feeling a bit pressed for time, Ryan and I set out, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, Saturday morning to find me a new ride.

So long, Jetta... You were a pain in the rear but did your job (for the most part)! 
Our first stop brought us to a small dealership just down the road, where we wanted to check out a 2003 Jeep Liberty. The dealer handed us the keys to go for a test drive and the car wouldn't start. Ya'll, in case you didn't know, when you're going to test drive a car, it's NOT a good sign when said car will not turn on. The dealer jumped the car, and we took it for a quick drive, but just weren't feeling it and were quickly on our way again.

Pretty (dead) car. 
 As we were driving to our next destination, we passed a dealership with a bright red 2005 Grand Cherokee, begging us to turn around and stop in. We spent a couple minutes talking with the dealer there and then decided we should probably take this car for a test drive as  well. We got in the car, started driving, and quickly realized that there was something majorly wrong with this one, as well. Clearly, luck was on our side and we were off to a GREAT start. (NOT) Turns out, the car needed to be taken directly to the mechanic because the automatic transmission was not functioning at all.

After this, Ryan and I stopped at about 10-15 more dealerships over the course of the weekend, test driving car after car, ultimately finding something not quite right with each one. We loved a 2005 Grand Cherokee but it was just too expensive. We liked a 2007 Liberty until we saw on the Carfax report that it had been in a car accident. We fell in love with a 2004 Grand Cherokee until we popped the hood and noticed it was completely covered in rust and would need to be replaced (a mini-meltdown ensued at this point). None of these cars were going to do it for us and the weekend was over.

Smiling on the outside, completely frustrated on the inside! 
Today, as soon as I finished up at work, we drove back over to a dealership that owned both the 2007 Liberty and 2005 Grand Cherokee we liked. After looking them over again, we decided which one we wanted to get. It was just a matter of price negotiation at this point. Fortunately (and unfortunately) for me, my husband is an EXPERT salesperson. He is impossible to read in this kind of situation and just does not give up until he's as close as he's going to get to the price he wants. The unfortunate part for me is that I CAN'T READ HIM either in these situations, causing me to panic that he's just going to walk away from this car I LOVE! After over an hour of negotiating, we finally shook hands on a deal and signed the paperwork for my new GRAND CHEROKEE!! I'm SO excited and can't wait for it to be all mine tomorrow (The title is housed at a third-party location and has to be overnighted to us).

After a stressful weekend, we are coming away with a new car and the realization that:
1. I have the patience of a preschooler.
2. My negotiating skills are non-existent.
3. My husband is a champ at driving the price of a car down!

And without further ado, I introduce to you... my new whip!

Gimme, Gimme! 
Alright, now that this experience has officially been documented (and hopefully doesn't need to be repeated for a LONG, LONG time) I'm off to finish up my FOUR papers due before we head out to Vermont for the weekend with our favorites, the Kehners!!

Have a great night, ya'll!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Happy Fall Decorating, Ya'll!!

Fall is by far my favorite of the four seasons. When Ryan asked me what I thought about moving to Boston, the first thing I thought about was not only getting to experience all 4 seasons, but more importantly, getting to experience a New England fall. Well that time is here, and let me tell you, the weather has not been disappointing lately! Our windows are open 24/7, the new crock-pot has been getting a workout, and I'm just about ready to pull my boots out of storage! Now, I just hope this weather sticks around for a while before the frigid temps set in!!

In the spirit of this MOST wonderful season, I decided to share with ya'll some of my favorite fall decorations hanging out around our apartment!

Let's start with a DIY project I tackled last fall. I had some burlap laying around and Pinterest told me if I had the right printer I could run the fabric through and print anything I wanted on it! I decided to create what you see below. Once I figured how how to get the printer to recognize the burlap, the project took about 20 seconds! Once the design was printed, I took an orange sharpie to the pumpkin and colored it in for that extra pop!

That little beauty currently sits on this shelf:

Our side table: 
Mmm more burlap! 
TV console: 

Buffet and Hutch:

I had some extra leaves laying around so I stuffed them all into a mason jar and called it a day.

 My favorite decorating spot- the entry table we built:

 I made the wreath below for 3 dollars (minus the S). I bought a twig wreath, a leaf garland, and a fall flower garland for a dollar each from...the dollar store. When I got home, I wrapped the leaf and flower garlands around the twig wreath as many times as possible and then threw the S up in the middle and tied it all to an 11x14 whitewashed open frame! Voila!

Last fall, I also made this burlap banner. I bought a yard of burlap and a bunch of fall-themed scrapbook paper from Joann's. I cut out banner shapes from the burlap and printed block letter outlines onto the back of the scrapbook paper then cut those out as well. Finally, I glued it together and hung each banner piece up to a large piece of twine with a small clothespin. The coolest thing (to me) about this banner is that its reversible! On the other side, I created a christmas-themed banner that spells out "Peaceful". Boom!

Finally, you fall decorations can't be complete until you add some beautiful sunflowers! (Thanks again, Hubby!!)

And there you have it! A quick overview of my favorite fall decorations put out for my favorite time of the year! Happy Fall, Ya'll!!