Catch up + CMA awards

Happy November! I can’t believe we’re in the final two months of 2014. Time continues to amaze me at how quickly it flies.

While it’s not the traditional awards season, I’m so excited that this Wednesday is the Country Music Association (CMA) Awards!


I love this awards show and am really looking forward to seeing my favorite country music singers perform. Especially the Zac Brown Band and those boys from Florida Georgia Line. Love them!

Also – it’s cold. The temperature has been in the 40’s in Northeast Ohio the past couple of days, and I’m none too happy about it. However, if there is one good thing about chilly weather, it’s cooking for chilly weather.  So, this week I’ll be cooking for chilly weather and country music: BBQ Coca-cola Ribs and chipotle mashed sweet potatoes.


Chipotle Sweet Potatoes close

Here is a link to the list of nominees for Wednesday’s award show. My predictions are below:

Album of the year – Miranda Lambert, “Platinum”

Entertainer of the year – Blake Shelton

Female Vocalist of the year – Taylor Swift

Male Vocalist of the year – Luke Bryan

Music Video of the year – “Somethin’ Bad” by Carried Underwood and Miranda Lambert

Musical Event of the year – “Somethin’ Bad” by Carried Underwood and Miranda Lambert

Musician of the year – Jerry Douglas (if you don’t know Jerry, I highly suggest getting to know him! He’s part of Alison Krauss’s band, and he was George Clooney’s singing voice in “O Brother, Where Art Thou”.)

New artist of the year – Kip Moore

Single of the year – “Automatic” by Miranda Lambert

Song of the year – “Give Me Back My Hometown”

Vocal Duo of the year – Florida Georgia Line

Vocal group of the year – Zac Brown Band

Pumpkin Silver Dollar Pancakes

I love the Pioneer Woman. She’s so down-to-earth – and man, can she cook. Of course, her food isn’t what one would call “healthy”, but sometimes down-home, ranch-style cooking is  just what this city(ish) girl needs.

Pancakes are a favorite in this house, so I can’t imagine pumpkin silver dollar pancakes won’t be a huge hit.


My Favorite Apple Crisp

Recently, I have been sensitive to the fact that time flies. My first baby turned four years old this July and my second baby will be a year old in two months. Ugh. Why, oh why, does time fly?! Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

Anyway, since time flies by and there is no way of stopping that, I have been trying to savor the moment. To be content in the times that I may not feel are the best. Because usually, I look back at those times and see the good that I missed. This “stop and smell the roses” thinking has led me to try (try being the key word) to stop getting ahead of myself in life. I haven’t even had a PSL yet. Yep, I am patting myself on the back. I am waiting until September 21st. The first day of glorious fall!

But since I am only human, I will be indulging in one of my fall favorites. Apple crisp! I have a plan to make it this week and to enjoy every. single. bite. And there will be a lot of bites. I lack self-control when it comes to apple crisp. The gooey, syrupy apples. And that topping. Oh that topping is just too much.

Better Homes and Gardens magazine has a contributing author that shares the best recipes. He includes the little techniques that make things just right and I love it! His name is Scott Peacock. Not only does he have an awesome name but he gets me. I am a sucker for the science and technique behind cooking/ baking. That’s why I have America’s Test Kitchen on speed dial. 🙂

Mr. Peacock goes through the tiniest details in his article in the magazine. I have mine in my binder of recipes from BHG 2010. He instructs to use Winesaps, Rome, McIntosh, Jonathan, Golden Delicious, or Granny Smith as they won’t get too watery and will be the perfect amount of sweet. How thick to cut those apples? Half of an inch, so they don’t turn to goo and aren’t under-cooked. He even tells you how to grind your own cinnamon and why it tastes so much better (I don’t do this one!). And finally, encourages readers to use their hands when making the crumb topping for the best texture (and most fun!).

The recipe can now be found on BHG’s website – and so can the tutorial. It includes a creamy custard sauce for a topping as well. I don’t think it’s necessary, this has enough “yum” without it. Plus – I think it’s much better to enjoy this with DIY caramel sauce.



I hope you enjoy his knowledge and the result!

With love,

Pumpkin Chili + Jalapeno Cornbeard

Did you miss the fall post of the day yesterday?! The day got away from me – so you just get a double dose of fall today!

Who ever said pumpkin is just for drinks and desserts? Someone who never had pumpkin chili, that’s who.

This is a MUST try recipe – especially on a cool, fall-like Sunday while watching a football game. Chili is one of my favorite foods, so I may be a bit biased, but I don’t think this recipe will disappoint.



Of course, with any kind of chili, cornbread is a necessary sidekick. The link above has a basic cornbread recipe, but if you really want to knock your taste buds out of the park, try jalapeno cornbread.


I don’t turn down ANYTHING with jalapeno in it (not even truffles), so this is high on my “to try” list.

With love,

Crock Pot Caramel Sauce

Are you Team Carra-mel or Team Car-ml?



I’m Team Carra-mel, but however you say it, there is one thing we can all agree on: caramel sauce is divine.

I never really considered making caramel from home, but as it turns out, all you need is a can of condensed sweetened milk and a crock pot. This blog has great step-by-step advice and some tricks for making the perfect caramel.


Try it out – and in a few days, we’ll share a recipe to use it! As if you needed an excuse. 🙂

With love,

Pumpkin Pie Truffles

Tired of all the pumpkin stuff yet? If so, sorry – but there is plenty more to come. If not, you’re my kind of people.
Truffles are definitely an indulgence of mine. I haven’t yet met a truffle I didn’t like, and pumpkin pie truffles are no exception. They are a very, very close second to my beloved jalapeno and dark chocolate truffles. A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!

Pumpkin Pie Truffles Recipe
Anyway, what’s so great about these truffles is how EASY they are. People will definitely think you are a culinary master when you show up with these – and I really don’t think there is any reason to correct them. It’ll be our little secret. 🙂

These truffles are from a blog called Six Sister Stuff, which is one of my favorite blogs to follow. Great recipes, easy DIY projects and other nifty ideas – such a fun blog!

With love,

Bonfire and S’mores

As much as I love Akron and everything it has to offer, this time of year makes me miss country-living. I grew up in a town about 30 minutes outside Akron. It isn’t what I would call a “small” town, but it definitely isn’t a big place either. At about 15,000 residents, Ravenna is a good mix of city and country. We’re kind of out in the middle of nowhere, but just down the road is Kent State University – and all the restaurants, people and activities that come along with a large state university.

I loved living in a place that had all the luxuries of a larger town, but still had the small town feel. When the weather was nice, my friends and I would spend our evenings playing sand volleyball at Kent State, getting a quick bite to eat and then heading out to someone’s house for a bonfire. Far away from street lights, traffic and noise, we’d spend hours just sitting around a fire – talking, laughing and enjoying the simplicity of our young lives.
Now that we live in the city, Ryan and I settle for a fire-pit in our backyard to hold our “bonfires”, and one thing we really love to do around the fire-pit is make s’mores. I recently saw on Pinterest (of course) the idea to have a Gourmet S’mores Party. Oh yeah – I’m in. How awesome does this party look?



This is an invite for a bonfire I saw – so cute!



Or if you’d rather skip the bonfire and make some indoor s’mores:



Wouldn’t this be a perfect cold weather treat?!

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go buy my local grocery store out of s’more supplies. Happy Monday!

With love,