Month: October 2013

Cinnamon Raisin Rolls

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Lately, I’ve been finding that I’ve been lacking compelling choices for breakfast. It’s either my typical fruit and yogurt if I’m on the go, or homemade buttermilk pancakes if I have a leisurely morning in. Not that I don’t love both of those choices, but with all the other flavors and spices of the season, I decided it was time to mix it up. I found this recipe in Gran’s Kitchen Cookbook, and it by far satisfied my cravings. At first, I was tempted to whip up a batch of icing to drizzle over the top, but upon tasting the rolls, I soon realized they were sweet and flavorful enough to stand alone. A roll warmed up each morning was enough to pull me out of my breakfast rut, and get me a little more excited to get out of bed each morning.

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(Ferris Wheel lighting up the night sky at the N.C. State Fair)

Though a couple of nights this week felt significantly more like the beginning of winter than a fall evening, I still managed to get bundled up for some nostalgic fall activities. I wrapped up my vacation with my first trip to the fair in years (I’m still patting myself on the back for bucking up the courage to ride one of the rides and allow myself to try a fried anything that I got within a foot of), a date-night turned family corn maze, and a Saturday morning spent with my mom and sister to start our holiday shopping (and sample all sorts of dips and drinks that will surely be making an appearance at holiday parties this season). As the last weekend in October, it was exciting to turn on the heat for the first time, and start laying down some plans with family and friends for the holidays. Here’s a glimpse at what’s currently making me happy.

photo 3-30(A totally unnecessary, but cute, addition to my water glass)

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(A teabag that caught me off guard with an inspirational message)


(Corn-mazing under a pitch black sky)

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(The most flavorful wedge salad that I’m planning on recreating at home)

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(Learning the hard way that caramel apples are not as easy as they look: the after picture is much less presentable)

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(An accumulation of tickets from this weekend’s festivities)


Pumpkin Spice Biscotti

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I was having one of those days a couple weeks back that had been great, but had also been long, and I was needing a way to unwind and have some quiet time. I had recently seen a post for this recipe, and decided it was exactly the comfort food I was looking for. The recipe was very easy to make and required little hands on time, which allowed for me to catch up on some missed episodes of my favorite shows in between batches in the oven. By the time these were done and iced, I was cozied up in a blanket, tea in hand, and feeling so much more relaxed and ready for the day to come to a close.

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Weekend Rewind


As I’ve already mentioned, this weekend was in my definition, a perfect fall vacation. It held just the right combination of eating, relaxing, getting out of town, and spontaneity.  It kicked off Saturday morning with a chilly breakfast outside, followed by exploring downtown, experiencing Cooke Street Carnival for the first time, and of course, pumpkin picking. Sunday, Ryan and I headed out of town for a day trip to a winery, and on the way back, we picked up a little something extra to bring home. Here are a few snapshots from how I spent this past weekend.

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(Late morning lattes at Cafe Helios)

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(Downtown discovery: Quality Grocery – a corner food mart that looks straight of the 1950’s)

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(Fried food, corny photo ops, and fun with friends at Cooke Street Carnival)

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(A perfectly overcast and chilly afternoon to pick pumpkins at Jean’s Berry Patch)

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(Pumpkins galore + an old fashioned car that no pumpkin patch would be complete without)

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(Ry and I picking out just the right ones)

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(Enjoying a beautiful day before our wine tasting at Gregory Vineyards)

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(The only few grapes left + Ry hard at work)

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(Getting lost in the vineyards for a few moments of quiet and relaxation post-tour and tractor ride)


(Wrapping up the weekend by getting all cuddled up with Luna Lee – named after our favorite Harry Potter character: Luna, and our favorite bottle of wine at the winery: Lee Love)


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(Luna: the most wonderful new addition to my life)

So much has happened this past week that it’s impossible to pick just a few things that are making me smile. Though I have loved every moment of the last few days, one thing stands out as the most amazing. My new (and first) adoption from the SPCA: Luna. Though I’ve only had her for a day, she has already brought so much joy and sunshine into my life. After being brought down by a couple of challenging things at work last week, meeting her was exactly what I needed to remember what’s important, and that a little bit of love can get you through anything. Friday started my week long vacation, and I couldn’t be more excited to start it off with her. I’ve already crossed several things off my to-do list this past weekend (pictures to come), and have a couple new projects to complete this week before heading to the annual Shopping Spree with my mom this weekend  to kick off our holiday shopping.

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(Half-scary, half-cute skull heads to give my house a little spook for Halloween)

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(My first, very intense, 3D-IMAX viewing of Gravity)

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(“Witch-fingers” hand baked for me by Ry)

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(An interesting mix of festive fall flowers from my mom)







Sweet Potato Cake

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My love of anything fall-related and covered in icing has been well documented. As much as I’d like to be able to resist and try something completely different, I can’t. When I found this recipe in Cooking in Season – The Fresh Market, I knew it would have to be made. With cinnamon, nutmeg, orange zest, pineapples, pecans, raisins, and sweet potatoes all in the mix, its a wonderful twist on a classic carrot cake. I found it to be a delicious desert warmed up on its own, or a hearty breakfast served with a cup of tea.

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(Picking out an extra-large mum to brighten up my patio)

The last few days have flown by, as they typically do this time of year. My to-do list constantly grows with festive things to accomplish, and the days seem to have less and less hours. Taking advantage of what free time I did have this past week, I found opportunities to counteract what was hopefully the last hot day of this year with some pumpkin picking at the farmer’s market, enjoy a quiet dinner with my mom, and do a little bit of fall baking. Though I still have much more on my to-do list, I’m looking forward this weekend to making relaxing a priority, and maybe crossing off a couple more things.

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(First pumpkin purchase this year – I went with the sage green one in front)

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(A delicious and colorful cookout at my parents’ house)

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(Spending an afternoon with the biggest member of our family)

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(Stocking up on fresh veggies with the family at the local farmer’s market)