Category Archives: fall

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Hello | Happy Halloween

easy pumpkin bread recipe

I started to write this post about 100 times. I don’t know why it was so hard, but it was. It was tough and time was tight.

First, I thank you a million times over for your emails and messages. It’s wonderful to know you care and you wonder. I like that. I like it so much.

So, here goes.

No, I’m not pregnant.

Yes, I took a break.

And, yes, everything is good. It’s great even. read more »

apple cake autumn fall holiday thanksgiving

The Lovely List |Thanksgiving

I’m not sure what Thanksgiving really looks like for us this year. Maeve and I will be with family, but apart from K. It’s sad, but there is still lots to plan and celebrate.

Here are some turkey day links. Enjoy the holiday!

Invite your friends to Thanksgiving dinner. Cute invitations. Gorgeous cards.

Turkey plates. Beautiful salad plates.

Handpainted teacups.

Gussy up the table with a cool tablecloth. I like this messy one.  This chalkboard tablecloth would also be so fun for the kids.

Doily placemats are fun and inexpensive.

Be sure to bring your host a gift. Edible ones are best. This granola is a great gift. Pumpkin bread is also a hit for the holiday.

Are you making a side dish? I love this cranberry sauce.

Last year, I used this recipe for my turkey and it was incredible!

What about something sweet like cookies? Or, this fantastic apple cake?

Make a fun pilgrim hat.

Printable place cards and edible ones!

For Maeve, I bought Baby Flip a Flap Thanksgiving. We might also have to get A Curious George Thanksgiving too.

See you next week!

cheese easy fall holiday home leeks macaroni mushrooms northwest personal

Leek Macaroni and Cheese | Small Pleasures

Have you been to Loch Ness?

I haven’t been there. I am not sure why I didn’t visit there on my trip to Scotland some time ago. I suppose it might have something to do with a monster. I hear there is one living there deep in the depths of the lake. I don’t care much for monsters particularly those who live in murky waters and are elusive to the public. Perhaps this is the reason, whether subconscious or not, I never visited. It does seem like a place, however, one should visit during a lifetime. There are so many places like this. These are the places we check off the list as we get older. Some of them are historic and most of the places are downright gorgeous and inspiring. This is likely why places like Loch Ness make it to the top of many people’s lists.

Monster or not, this was going to be the year I checked this Scottish landmark off my list. K and I planned to go to Paris and Inverness next week. We planned the trip ages ago as K is scheduled to shoot a wedding at a Loch Ness castle on Thanksgiving. Of course, we were terribly excited, albeit a little nervous, to travel so far with Maeve. We talked a great deal about how she might handle the time change, what we would bring for her comfort, and whether her bizarre sleep schedule might allow us to eat at a cosmopolitan dinner hour in Paris. We really focused our attentions on the Paris leg of our journey and, with stars in our eyes and pain au chocolat on our minds, we fantasized about jaunts down old alleyways and drinking frothy cappuccinos as Maeve sampled her first madeleine cookies.

And then the trip got closer and more real. There was no more fantasizing and, down to the wire, we began researching our journey from Paris to Loch Ness. The odds seemed stacked against us at every turn. The buses were slow. The car rides daunting and long. And, the flight? No direct flight exists to Inverness. As we sat before our computer last week going over and over these options, I looked at K and told him to go without us. I was earnest. I was tired. I could not imagine taking Maeve on a cross-atlantic flight and turning around and traveling another 12 hours with her to Scotland only to return to Paris days later. Sure, it’s possible, but it didn’t look fun. It looked hard. Hard on Maeve and hard on her parents.

I know I should be disappointed. I should be truly melancholic right now as my Parisian fantasy slips through my fingers. But, truthfully, I’m not one bit sad. The decision was so very easy once I realized how difficult it was going to be for Maeve. It’s strange, really. I felt more like a mama at that moment than at any other point during these past 10 months.  Little else matters these days apart from Maeve’s comfort and well-being. I fully embrace it.

We are celebrating much smaller pleasures around here. There are milestones to celebrate and good food to eat as the holidays near. We visited family in San Francisco last week where Maeve was in absolute heaven. She loved the beach and the sunshine. We ate my mother’s pot roast and Maeve discovered mashed potatoes. Life will never be the same.

This week is another time to celebrate small pleasures together as a family before K travels to Europe. I discovered my new car has heated seats and that was an absolutely wonderful moment. However, something even more miraculous happened on a casual trip to the grocery store last night. I found both chanterelles and leeks were on sale! This never happens and, thus, I considered it a sign. It was a glaring sign, really. Who would pass up such offerings? I can’t imagine anyone would. So, I brought the goods home and crafted them into the most toasty comforting dish I could envision. I made leek and chanterelle macaroni and cheese. It was absolutely mouth-watering. Nutty and rich, this macaroni and cheese was the perfect way to celebrate our little life here.

The meal is perfect for showcasing these fall edible treats and for enjoying on a rainy night with your loved ones. It’s not Paris, I know. However, Maeve loved it. She doesn’t know the difference. Those madeleines will surely wait until she does.

Macaroni & Cheese

1 lb. macaroni pasta (large elbows)
4 cups whole milk
6 tblsp. flour
4 tblsp. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1 tsp. sweet or smoked paprika
1 and 1/2 cups chopped chanterelle mushrooms
2 cups thinly sliced leeks (green part only)
kosher salt & fresh ground pepper to taste
8 oz. mild raw milk white cheddar cheese

Bring a large pot of well salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook at a rolling boil until just tender. Drain. Rinse. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Bring the milk to just a boil in a heavy saucepan. Set aside.

Melt the butter in another pan. Add the flour and whisk over low heat for about 5 minutes. Do not brown. Remove from the heat.

Add the butter mixture to the milk and whisk well to get rid of lumps. Add 1/2 tsp of paprika. Season with salt and pepper. Return to heat. Cook the mixture over medium heat, whisking constantly until it’s smooth and it thickens. About 5 minutes.

Add mixture, chanterelles, and leeks to the pasta and stir until well coated and mixed. Spread the grated cheese over the top of the pasta. Sprinkle the top with the remaining paprika.

Cover the dish in foil and bake for 25 minutes. Then, remove the foil, place dish under the broiler (about 4 inches away from heat) and cook for another 3-4 minutes until slightly golden.


autumn fall lovely list

The Lovely List

I promised several of you a picture of Maeve in her Halloween finery. She was a leopard!

It was a really great night. I hope you had fun too.

Here are some links to brighten your Tuesday.

I don’t know about you, but I’m dying to read Mindy Kaling’s new book! I’m sure it will be hilarious.

These knit purses qualify as the coolest purses I’ve seen in a very very long time.

Gorgeous chunky jewelry  via Unruly Things.

Would you vacation in an Ice Hotel?

Finally, cool socks!

How utterly adorable is this wrapping paper?

The most expensive, but possibly the most adorable, children’s storage solution.

sweet farm book for your wee one.

Turn your child’s drawing into a stuffed animal! For real.
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