An Open Letter to Pumpkin Spice

(Image Credit: Masson)

(Image Credit: Masson)

Dear Pumpkin Spice,

First, welcome back! It seems like just yesterday we were reuniting at Dunkin’ –  hard to believe it’s been ten months already! Few flavors match your cinnamon and nutmeggy goodness. You’re a classic comfort in the chilly fall. Most of the time, as embarrassed as I am to admit it, my week feels oddly incomplete if I haven’t had my fix in some way. I know, I’m borderline obsessed. But despite my love for you, we need to talk.

At first, your need to enhance things like coffee and cookies and various baked goods was a welcome gesture. Don’t get me started on what you’ve done for the world of hand soaps, sanitizers, and candles. It’s incredible. But Pumpkin Spice, you’ve started to get, well, a little out of control.

I walked into the grocery store the other day and ran into a giant display of pumpkin spice Oreos. OK, maybe not a terrible idea, but Oreos are best as is. Everyone knows this. All these modifications to the classic cookie are decent at best. It was when I turn the aisle and saw pumpkin spice potato chips that I begin to grow concerned.

Really, pumpkin spice on fried slices of potato? It just doesn’t go. I wanted to catch you before you went too far, but I was too late. I’m saddened to say I saw you on the evening news last night, Pumpkin Spice. The reporter announced, and I can’t believe I’m even saying this, that your latest victim was dog treats. Or should I say Pup-kin treats. You, my friend, belong nowhere near dog food and you know it! I fear that you’ve begun to spread yourself too thin and are willing to exploit yourself by whatever means possible. This isn’t you.

I’m concerned about you and wish that you would get back to your roots that worked so well in coffee, cookies, and candles. Follow the example of your cousin, Vanilla Chai. They knew when to stop, enhancing only lattes, ice cream, and the occasional cocktail. You’re fantastic, there’s no doubt about it- but back down and do what you know is right. I love you and want you to be at your best; don’t spread yourself too thin. Less is more, and when done right, you remain special.

 

Love,

Sarah

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Tara Talks: Episode Thirty Five (The One with Why I Love Fall)

TARA TALKS (Image Credit: Tara Robinson)

TARA TALKS (Image Credit: Tara Robinson)

I asked my twitter followers what topics I should talk about and someone suggested best and worst things about fall! Here’s why I love fall! Let me know in the comments why you love fall, or why you don’t that’s cool too.

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Six Trends for Fall by Kelsey Murray of Tickle Me Pink

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One Two Three Four Five | Six 

Whenever August ends, I get this weird feeling that a new year is beginning. I blame my childhood! I used to get so nervous and excited for school to start. I would buy new pens and lay out my first day of school outfit (which was a uniform for the first 14 years of my life). Everything had to be in order. Typically I have the same rush of excitement for the month of September. The seasons change and so does the fashion. It’s time to pull out your plum colored sweaters and leather boots! Fall is coming. Today we are discussing six trends for fall: Continue reading

Tips for Making the Most of Sweater Weather

Sweater Weather

The Leaves are changing colors, people are flocking to Starbucks to get their favorite seasonal drink (the Pumpkin Spice Latte tastes like Fall), and everybody is pulling out their favorite sweaters in preparation for cooler weather.

As summer transitions to fall, the temperatures outside fluctuate between warm and cool. Sweater weather is always my favorite, but sometimes it’s difficult to decide what to wear my sweater with if it’s on the warmer side outdoors. Continue reading

Pumpkin Pie Marshmallow Recipe by Jenny @ Bake

Pumpkin Pie Marshmallow Recipe (Image Credit: Jenny @ Bake)

Pumpkin Pie Marshmallow Recipe (Image Credit: Jenny @ Bake)

Autumn is my favourite time of year.  The days grow shorter, leaves change colour and you get to rediscover a wardrobe of thick tights and jumpers that have been packed away for months.

One of my more common indulgences when the weather turns cooler is a cup of hot chocolate loaded with marshmallows (try heating chocolate milkshake for a truly luxurious drink).  Instead of the traditional vanilla, these marshmallows are combined with a favourite seasonal treat, the pumpkin pie.

Marshmallows are fairly simple to make, the only specialist equipment you will need is a candy thermometer, which can be found in most good cookware stores.  Once you’ve mastered the basic recipe (this is my favourite http://www.rivercottage.net/recipes/home-made-marshmallows/) the possibilities for flavours are endless, and not only are they delicious but they make beautiful gifts too.

Because of the extra moisture from the pumpkin puree this mix needs double the amount of gelatine of a standard marshmallow mix and needs to be beaten for longer.  After experimenting with different containers I found that plastic food storage tubs work best for setting the marshmallow in, as it is a lot easier to remove intact from the mould.

Pumpkin Pie Marshmallow Recipe (Image Credit: Jenny @ Bake)

Pumpkin Pie Marshmallow Recipe (Image Credit: Jenny @ Bake)

Pumpkin Pie Marshmallows

makes 30

Ingredients

25g gelatine powder

1 egg white

250g white sugar

140g pureed pumpkin (⅓ can of Libby’s)

¼ tsp ground cloves

¼ tsp grated nutmeg

½ tsp ground ginger

1 tsp cinnamon

vegetable oil for greasing

4 tbsp corn flour

4 tbsp confectioners sugar

Directions:

Grease a 1l container with a little oil, and leave to one side.

Dissolve the gelatin in 60ml of nearly boiling water.

In a stand mixer whisk the egg white until it forms stiff peaks.

Mix the sugar with 125ml of water in a saucepan, and heat to 120C using a sugar thermometer for accuracy (run the thermometer under a hot tap before and after using to reduce temperature shock shattering the glass).

With the stand mixer on a low-medium speed pour the hot sugar into the egg white, being careful not to get it on the beaters as this can flick boiling sugar syrup out of the bowl.

Add the gelatine, spice and pumpkin and beat until it thickens, about 15 minutes, a good test is if you lift the beaters up the ribbons of marshmallows should sit on top of the mixture for a couple of seconds until it’s absorbed.

Pour into the tub, cover with Clingfilm and leave to one side for a couple of hours to set.

When you’re ready to cut the marshmallows, mix together the corn flour and confectioners sugar in a tub, sprinkle some of this over your worktop and turn the marshmallow out onto it.  To create clean slices you will need to clean and oil the knife between each cut so it is worth keeping a damp cloth and a dish of oil close to hand.

After cutting each square roll in the corn flour and sugar mixture.

Keep in an airtight tub and eat within a few days.


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5 Ways to Have Fun This Fall!

Fall Fun (Image Credit: Maridav)

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Sweaters, football, Pumpkin Spice Lattes, Halloween, crunchy leaves and chilly days – what’s not to love about fall? Even though it is a beautiful time of year, summer lovers may find themselves stumped when it comes to planning activities as the brisk air and early darkness ushers its way in. No worries, though. There is fun aplenty to be had this fall!

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Five Must Have Fashion Trends For Fall 2013

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I can already feel the weather changing from scorching, humid temperatures to blissful, 70-degree sunny days. Those are the days where it’s perfectly acceptable to curl up in your favorite hammock with a comfy sweater and soft throw blanket to read your new book whilst sipping chamomile tea. Can you picture it now? I can.
Although your wardrobe changes throughout the fall months it is time to start paying attention to the trends that have strolled down the runways. Although there are a few trends that seem to pop up every fall, there is always a slight change here and there to make it ‘new’ again. We have pulled together the top five trends to ‘fall’ in love with this upcoming season:

1. Statement Outerwear

Royal Purple ‘Sollel’ Ted Baker Peplum Jacket

When it comes to cold weather you can never skip a jacket or coat. So why can’t it be as fabulous as the outfit you wear? Better yet, couldn’t your outerwear be a major statement on its own? The runways were infiltrated with structured pieces, tailored pea coats and patterned frock coats. Whether you work in a corporate office or are busy running around all day, a statement jacket can transform a bleak, neutral outfit into a sensational look.

2. Feeling Bruised: Black & Blue

Michael Kors ‘Selma’ Large Top Zip Satchel

An unlikely color combination yet an extremely attractive one. Whether it is cobalt and black or navy and black the color scheme is uncommon. Rarely do the two colors coincide and rarely do people know how to pair them. The designers certainly did. Michael Kors Fall Runway 2013 is dominated in the blue/black hues making for incredibly powerful, assertive, business attire. Satchels, purses, side bags and clutches are rocking the two-toned, color-blocking trend this season and the bruised variation is a popular one.

3. Classic Booties

Joie ‘Dalton’ Booties

Just as necessary as jackets are for fall, so too are boots and booties of all shapes, colors and sizes. I am so in love with these suede Joie beige booties. Sometimes a bootie can create an unflattering line between the end of a women’s leg and the start of her foot. These booties solve that issue. Their shape is flattering for every shape and size and elongates a leg rather than stunting it. Plus how chic would those look with a pair of dark wash skinny jeans and a comfortable knit sweater? Swoon.

4. Jewel Tone Skinnies

MIH Jeans in ‘Breathless Emerald’

Before navy and black made a statement this season, jewel tones were popping up like wildflowers in magazines and online. The classic jewel tones include a variety of shades from emerald to teal, burgundy to maroon, sapphire to navy and everything in between. This year, however, the colors aren’t just found in bags or on blouses. Skinny jeans are transforming from popping spring colors to demure jewel tones. They are the perfect statement pieces to pair neutrals around. These MIH Emerald skinny jeans would go perfectly with shades of brown and tan (even the Joie booties)!

5. Leather

TOPSHOP Tail Leather A – Line Skirt

Leather, yes I know, leather is an oldie but it’s a goody! No, I am not talking about the classic 90’s leather pointed boot or the 2012 black peplum leather top from ASOS that everyone seems to have. I am talking about leather skirts! Don’t think trashy, though, think classy. In order to make a leather skirt classy you have to consider the shape, tailor and outline of it. An A-line leather skirt like this TOPSHOP one is uber chic this season. Consider pairing it with a navy turtleneck or cobalt bow blouse. Add some dark tights and tall boots to keep it casually polished. It may seem like a risk but it should be one you are willing to take.

 

Ultimate Caramel Apple Recipe by Cooking Classy

Caramel apples are one of my favorite fall treats. I have often thought about ordering the delicious looking gourmet versions sold by specialty shops, but gosh are they pricey. In lieu of spending upwards of $8.00 USD an apple, I started looking for some DIY recipe ideas and came across this great post from Cooking Classy. Continue reading

Beat the Autumn Blues!

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Autumn. It brings with it crisp mornings, crunchy leaves underfoot, beautiful colors and chilly evenings. It can also bring with it a dip in mood and feelings of nostalgia for the summer just passed. The change in seasons and the move towards winter with its colder weather can leave you feeling a little down, and a little unmotivated. Colds seem to circle throughout the autumn months, everyone is sniffling and it can be easy to let it get the best of you.

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DIY Polka Dot Pumpkins by Alana Jones-Mann

Halloween is my second favorite holiday of the year. I love decorating for it each time fall rolls around and pumpkins are an absolute must! No matter how hard I try, I can never carve up a crazy cool pumpkin like you see in the Martha Stewart and Good Housekeeping Mags, so I am always looking for other ways to add some pizzazz to my pumpkin decor. This Polka Dot Pumpkin DIY by Alana Jones-Mann is a great alternative to standard jack-o-lanterns for all you pumpkin carving challenged out there like me!

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Meg’s Fall Beer Recipe

Image Credit: Meghan Hawes

When I think about what I like to drink in the Fall, I automatically come to this go to cocktail recipe. It’s quick, fallesque and sweeter than your average beer. My friend Elle introduced me to this about 3 years ago.

This would be a great drink to serve at a Halloween party or to enjoy while you’re celebrating Oktoberfest!

You’re going to need a very large cup to fit everything that is needed in this cocktail recipe.

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Five Date Ideas for the Fall Season!

Image Credit: Amie Fedora

Image Credit: Amie Fedora

I feel that the Fall offers so many different date idea’s for couples at any age. It’s a perfect time to be outside or even bundle up inside depending how cool it is outside.  Having the option is always nice before it becomes winter which brings along the bitter cold. Here are 5 ideas for a great date in the Fall… Continue reading

5 Reasons… I am Excited for Fall!

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I must say I love living somewhere where you get the full effects of the seasons changing. I don’t think I could live somewhere where it was 50-60 degrees out while shopping for a Christmas tree (just my preference) I do get jealous of the California and Florida girls when I am get the ice pick out for my car at 6am! When there is about one month left of the season, I go in to the whole ” I can’t wait for winter to be over or I can’t wait to go swimming, etc.” So, with summer in New Jersey being more humid than usual. I can’t wait for the seasons to change… What’s next? Fall! Let me count the ways why I can’t wait to ditch my flip flops and tank tops. Continue reading

Rustic French Apple Tarte

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There is nothing that I love more in the Fall than anything having to do with apples. They’re crisp, crunchy, in season and readily available. The French Apple Tarte is the perfect recipe to make during the Fall to represent the apples that are in season. Not to mention that it’ll add the most delicious smell to your kitchen!

I found this recipe while perusing through one of Ina Garten’s new cookbooks. It so happens that this recipe was what she was making on the cover of the cook book too. The recipe seemed easy enough for me since I had just started to really learn how to bake when I made this. Luckily, this was one of the easier things I learned how to bake. Ina made it very easy with her recipe and it was a recipe that would come out great even if you screwed something up like rolling out the dough wrong! I always had my fear of making my own dough.. I bet a lot of people do! Rolling it out is always hard for me because it always ends up breaking in a spot. As my mom says though, it takes practice and practice makes perfect!

I really enjoyed this recipe and I hope that you do too! A perfect fall recipe.

French Apple Tarte (Adapted from Ina Garten)

Image Credit: Jody Hawes

Image Credit: Meghan Hawes

Image Credit: Meghan Hawes

Image Credit: Meghan Hawes

Image Credit: Meghan Hawes

Image Credit: Meghan Hawes

Image Credit: Meghan Hawes