it all started with an airplane ride. roughly two and a half hours heading north...
and our little spiderman is excited about his trip!
what is it about going home that makes you long for your mother, a big bowl of italian soup (extra parmesan please), and a big quilt to snuggle beneath.
we recently returned home from mi. it was a shorter trip this year and we tried to soak up as much cold, cider, spiced donuts, and family as we could. it was amazing as it always is and the fall season never disappoints.
it's always more beautiful than i remember and it again cements my belief that we should always try to make it back to mi for a little autumn lovin' every year.
we visited a few different apple orchards and pumpkin patches. is there anything better than a real pumpkin patch. so what if i about broke my ankle and poked my eye out while walking around a pumpkin patch at night tripping over the vines...but we had vines. real vines. it was so fabulous and beautiful!
we hung with our families. we smooshed around the dinner table, enjoyed our morning coffee, and just enjoyed being together.
okay, it was a little hot for my fall-time agenda. indian summer. i had to forgo layering long sleeved t-shirts, and piling on fluffy, colorful scarves...it was too hot! however, i dressed peyton and beckham in as many fall-ish clothes as possible and i only ever removed my warm, fuzzy boots to replace them with my warm and fuzzy slippers!
it was divine. it was perfect. it was michigan in the fall.
i have so much to share, but i will do this post in a series. i just took to many pictures...as if that's possible!
peyton is our self-proclaimed michigan girl and she was the first one to jump out of the truck and start exploring her rusty-colored surroundings.
sito and gido decorated and we had some nervous kids for a minute...
each day, 'peanut butter' ran outside in their jammies and tried to catch leaves that were falling after a little gust of wind. they used a box to collect to their colored and waxy treasures...
it was so damn funny to watch!
one night we were all hanging around playing cards with jeff's parents and some really funny and lovely friends but the kids were BORED and wouldn't let us ignore them a moment longer, so we visited the old house up on the corner that has been selling pumpkins for forty years.
(this was one LONG card game that had me bowing out early, making salami sandwiches rolled into the freshest syrian bread, but we laughed about 90% of the time...and donna, you so topped my story and i LOVED it!!!)
it was way late, super cold, and the place didn't sell hot mulled apple cider but it was invigorating and exciting to be running around hundreds of pumpkins in all shapes and sizes.
does peyton look a bit scary here?
and our babies kept scaring the hell out of themselves by entering the 'witches chambers' where she was whipping up some delish eyeball soup...and they just kept running. we stayed too long, but we returned with pink noses and it was so much fun!
the lighting wasn't great, but i have to share anyway.
funny story. maybe.
i visited costco the other day. i was making lasagna and for some reason i bought an extra huge container of ricotta cheese an di didn't need it. you would of thought the kitchen police were in my kitchen and i would have been put in jail if i threw that extra container of ricotta away. i couldn't do it. everytime i opened my refridgerter, that white and red plastic contain kept staring at...
make me into something good. please. use me. i flippin' hate ricotta cheese now, but here is one of the four recipes i made using ricotta.
Peanut Butter Pie
(sorrento's recipe found on back of container)
one graham cracker crust, 8"
6 oz, hershey's special select chocolate chips, melted (use what you prefer)
for the filling:
3 tbls butter at room temperature
1 1/2 cups of smooth peanut butter
1/4 cup plus 2 tbls. sugar
1/2 cup ricotta cheese (recipe calls for 3/4, i used less)
1 cup of heavy whipping cream whipped with 1tbls. sugar and 1/2tsp. vanilla
With spatula, smooth 2/3 of chocolate over bottom of crust and up the sides about 1/2."
save the rest of the chocolate for the top.
put crust in freezer.
Mix butter,peanut butter, and sugar for 2 minutes until smooth. Add ricotta and mix for 1 minute. In separate bowls, whip cream with sugar and vanilla until it holds a soft peak. Gently fold cream into PB mixture. Spoon filling into prepared crust and refrigerate for 1-2 hours. With fork, drizzle remaining chocolate over top and serve.
*i would use more chocolate than the recipe calls for. maybe another 3 oz, melted, poured over top.
i had never made a peanut butter pie before, but it was really good. peyton and beckham LOVED it!!!
never buy canned whipped cream again because homemade is sooo much better and really quick and most importantly...the kids think it is super cool to watch the cream turn into whipped cream!
i've been cooking like julia child on no-doz tablets. (ha, kidding. seriously though didn't you ever take those caffeine pills back in the day...college days while chasing it with a pot of coffee in order to stay up all night so you could write your final term paper? no?
so, another recipe that i am sharing is one of my all-time faves.
my grandma polleti, who recently moved back to michigan from italy, used to make these frittatas. as a child i would watch her make these little 'pies' and when done, cut them into thick and perfectly triangled slices. she would ALWAYS bake them in foil pie dishes...the ones that are probably discontinued because the edges are so sharp. anyway...it was signature grandma polleti.
she made hers with spinach and it always amazed me at how beautifully she could make her spinach 'freeze' within the pie. when you cut into it you could see ribbons of the spinach dancing in the egg mixture.
well, after several begging-for-the-recipe sessions with grandma herself, all she says is,
"what honey? what you you talking about? SPINACH? yeah spinach and egg and that's it."
I GAVE UP, so here is my version. i came up with it after several cravings of my old favorite!
Kinda Sorta Grandma's Frittata
my version...much quicker
1 tablespoon of each: olive oil and butter. (it's an italian thing i think)
a bag of fresh spinach (although, i am pretty sure gram uses frozen)
OR a bunch of asparagus, with ends trimmed off. i use the tips/grassy part of the asparagus as that is my favorite part, but you can use the stems but be sure to trim the hard bottom.
1/4 c chopped onion
a ripe deep red tomato, diced. (from mom's garden...or the supermarket i guess:)
basil, chopped. a few leaves.
fontina cheese, a chuck that you can grate over the pan at the end of cooking.
kosher salt and pepper.
optional: sometimes i through in some diced up proscuitto for more salt when i am needing more salt in my life. but i crisp it up first in a dry, hot pan but you don't have to.
in a pan big enough to hold 5 eggs and over medium heat add oil and butter, then add your onion and asparagus and cook for a few minutes until the asparagus is tender. add chopped tomato and let cook for another minute or so.
meanwhile, whisk together your eggs, add a splash of milk or cream, salt, pepper.
pour over the veggies. let it cook for a few minutes and then grate the fontina over the top. i don't measure, i just grate until it looks good.
fontina is salty and creamy and one of my all-time favorite cheese...now. my gram used muenster cheese.
then, where some may thow this in the oven at this point, i take out my spatula and challenge myself to a flip-over tournament! flip it over and if it breaks...who cares. your in pj's and about to enjoy the most delish breakfast ever.
slice it up and enjoy!
this is SUPER easy and you probably have some variation of all these ingredients in your fridge. i'm addicted and my jeans are screaming at me.
oj over ice. it's dessert.
i had a few photo shoots while i was in michigan and can i just say that i needed to be inspired and i was. so much more to come, but here is a sneak peek of sweet little brother and sister...kate and tyler!
tina, you are a beautiful mama! xo
After all there is something about a wedding gown, prettier than in any other gown in the world.
~Douglas William Jerrold
she's been asking me for well over a year,
"mommy, please let me wear your wedding dress."
we look at the wedding photograph that is hanging on the wall above my desk and she asks why she wasn't invited to the 'party.'
"you look like a princess, mommy!" and we stare at the photo. i, in memory of our wedding day, and she, i imagine, dreaming of the day that she will get to wear a big white dress and look like a princess.
she has asked to wear my gown almost every weekend for a year, but i wasn't ready to open that box. maybe it was the memories it was sure to unleash or fear that it would be ruined. we were married 11 years ago and my gown was shoved into a cardboard box and never opened again...
until a couple of nights ago~
the joy on her face brought tears to my eyes. she transformed herself into an elegant little person.
the smile never faded.
she was a different person.
when the neighbors stopped to stare at our impromptu shoot, she wasn't shy. she was glowing with excitement.
"now you look like the princess, sweetheart!"
it was so emotional. it was an experience. we will do it again.
if you would like photos of your little sweetheart in your dress or other meaningful item, contact me. i have packages in the works and they will be available in january!
also, check out this blog! i received an email from charlotte who works for ThinkFun, the makers of Zingo! she came across my blog and liked the little story of beckham learning how to play the game by the rules. i was honored that she wanted to post an excerpt of my blog onto her super amazing resource blog on exploring new ways to use games to promote learning, teach thinking skills, and life lessons. anything that gets me thinking outside of the box works for me!
happy fall-ing in love with the season.
i made us some chili and lit a hundred candles tonight. what it's all about.
oh, and maybe one of these...
a honey crisp apple. run, not walk, to your nearest market and buy a dozen. it's like honey and sugar and fresh all rolled into one!