Wednesday, October 31, 2012

fall farm date

Yes it's true. 

There was a date on a farm, Green Acres to be exact, with a Pumpkin Patch and a Corn Maze! 
And other farm like things. 

We went to the pumpkin patch first,

And picked out our pumpkins,

and had some problems with their height seems a little off

And then we headed in for the corn maze.

It was my first maze, and it was kind of tricky to find all the markers. 
Jonathan was disappointed by all the emergency exits! ridiculous right?

That's some tall corn!

But we made our way out and then passed all the bounce houses to see some goats:


And then we went on a hayride into the sunset, no joke. 

See? I wasn't making it up. 

I'm not going to lie though, hayrides are a little bumpy, not too comfortable, and terrible for allergies...But still really pretty. 

We then managed to find our way back to the big city lights of durham for dinner and drinks.

Pretty lovely if you ask me.


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

pumpkin potluck

Megan and I hosted a pumpkin potluck on Sunday to celebrate the best gourd, and the wonderful fall season.

It was pum-tastic! 
(this is now the 100th time I've made this joke, it never gets old)

We had the fall decor ready to go!


Along with some mood lighting of course,

I made pumpkin lasagna (recipe below), and others brought delicious pumpkin dishes like chili, pasta, cookies, milkshakes, and beer. We also had some wonderful dishes that were not pumpkin, since variety is the spice of life -- fruit salad, chicken, and chocolate cookies. 
oh yes, a winner of a night.

Part of the feast:

It was so delicious, we were so full.  We couldn't even decorate paper pumpkins or play games as we had intended, the pumpkin feast was too much for our meager stomachs to handle! 
But so worth it.

PumpkinPant's Pumpkin Lasagna Recipe:

Layers (from Bottom to top):
Butter, Noodles, Onion-Spinach Mixture, Noodles, Pumpkin-Cheese Mixture, Ravioli, Onion-Spinach Mixture, Noodles, Pumpkin-Cheese Mixture, Noodles, Parmesan & Breadcrumb Topping

Noodles: no-boil lasagna noodles, 1 large package of cheese ravioli
Onion Layer: 2 T butter, 1 onion chopped, 2 garlic cloves minced, 1 bag of fresh spinach, 2 links of faux (or real) italian sausage chopped, 1 cup of mushrooms chopped, salt, pepper, nutmeg, sage, thyme
Pumpkin Layer: ½ cup parmesan, a 14 oz package ricotta, 4 oz goat cheese at room temperature, a 15 oz can pumpkin puree, salt, pepper, nutmeg, cayenne, garlic & onion powder, 1 egg
Topping: 1 T butter, ½ cup shredded cheese, ½ cup breadcrumbs

1. Grease a 9 x 13 pan and preheat the oven to 400.
2. Sauté onions in butter until translucent about 5-8 minutes; add garlic and seasoning followed by meat and mushrooms and cook for another 3-5 minutes until brown and delicious.  Add in the spinach in batches until it cooks down, 2-3 minutes. Set aside. 
3. In a bowl, combine pumpkin layer ingredients and whisk until combined. Set aside.
4. For the topping, melt the butter and mix in breadcrumbs. Set aside with cheese.
5. In the pan: layer noodles, ½ of the onion mixture, and another layer of noodles. Then ½ of the pumpkin mixture followed by a layer of ravioli, then rest of onion mixture, followed by another layer of noodles and the remaining pumpkin mixture.  Top with one last layer of noodles and then breadcrumb mixture and shredded cheese.
6. Bake covered in foil for 20 minutes, and then uncovered for 15 minutes. Enjoy!

The halfway point - topping with cheese ravioli! 

The final product before it goes into the oven:

And out of the oven and ready to eat!

I hope you have been taking the time to celebrate the best gourd. 
'tis the season.


Monday, October 29, 2012

recap in waiting

it was a very busy fall-filled weekend.  
Details to come soon, but in the meantime, some randoms from last week:

A man selling NC sweet potatoes from his truck,

just another  day in the life of suburban living.

Shira sent me a post card that I got to color!

so much fun. 

I had to say goodbye to this cutie, as Lauren and family move to Japan for a year, 
sad for me, fun for them.

And yes, zak loves a vera, of course. well, at least to chew on...


Saturday, October 27, 2012

bumper crop of fun

The North Carolina State Fair, named the bumper crop of fun for 2012, was a delightful night out.
No, I'm not just saying that because I was a food judge, there was also the promise of a giant pumpkin!!!

And yes, this is an nc state fair app. boom diggity. 

So ashley, jonathan, and i went. 

We saw the animals, like this goat, which ashley wanted to adopt, and a family of pigs:


And others, like bunnies. All adorable. 

And then, we found ourselves, with the pumpkins:

Oh yes, they are giant, can you even handle it???

I was so excited, clearly: 

I just really appreciate a place that recognizes the full glory of the best gourd. They had a nice little bench so we could pose for a picture with the lovely pumpkins and banner. The very best.

Of course there were many more pumpkins as well, in various shapes, sizes, and colors:

look how cute:

There were other vegetables, and vegetable categories, like food baskets, market stands, and food art. All awesome. 
Below are some hot peppers, sweet potatoes (NC's #1 crop), watermelons and big gourds:

Yes, yes. We ate food too.  Not a lot though, it's a bit overwhelming in the midway with all the rides and lights.  But we did get some absolutely delicious nc state ice cream:

AND the item of the year: fried girl scout cookies, samoas to be exact. 

Yes, they looked delicious. But I'm not going to lie, we were pretty disappointed by them.  The dough to cookie ratio was off, way too doughy, the solution would have been to have two cookies battered and fried...just saying. 

We then found ourselves checking out our handy work in the food preservation category, and so proud to see three of our nominees for best in show won for their respective categories! Yeah, we are great judgers...

Then we broke away from the bright lights and found the gardening section, complete with a giant chair for photos:

and Master Gardner Gardens: 

Overall it was a lovely fair experience. And I'm already excited for what 2013 will bring.


Friday, October 26, 2012

breakfast casserole

I was craving it. so i made it. off the top of my head, veggie style. Two layers: cheesy potatoes on bottom, and eggy biscuits on top

Bottom layer: 1/2 package of shredded potatoes, 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese,  1 t olive oil, 1/4 t salt, 1/2 t pepper, 1/2 t garlic powder, 1/2 t onion powder, 1/8 t cayenne pepper, 1 T tabasco

Top layer: four eggs, 1/2 cup milk, 1/4 t salt, 1/4 t pepper, 1/4 t red pepper flakes, 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese, 2 veggie bacon slices, 2 veggie sausage patties, 1 t chives, 1/2 t onion powder, 1 can of 8 biscuits

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

For the bottom layer, combine the ingredients,

and pat down into an 11 x 7 ~ ish pan to form a crust

Then cut up some fake meat, or real if that's your thing,

In a bowl combine the top layer ingredients

quarter the biscuits,

toss them into the bowl and then pour on top of the potatoes

Bake for 32 minutes until biscuits are cooked through

It's good, really filling, and exactly what i was craving. 


Thursday, October 25, 2012

fall garland

the how-to on my fall garland:

Gather your supplies: I used sheets of felt in various colors, burlap, and some fall-ish printed fabrics.  

I also picked up some embroidery thread in a copper color, and made a pattern for the bunting on a piece of cardboard. Basically a triangle with a 1/2 inch longer base.

Next I cut out plenty of triangles and made some bows.  

For the bows I just used felt and pinking shears to cut out strips of 1 inch by 6 inches, and then smaller pieces of 1/2 inch by 2 inches and folded the edges in on the bigger piece, and wrapped the smaller piece around the middle, and sewed to secure. 

For the fabric bunting, I cut out two pieces and sewed the two long sides inside-out, and then flipped it right-side out to complete the top edge. 

For the felt and burlap I just used one layer and the pinking shears.

I then sewed each piece to the embroidery thread using a zig zag stich to catch the thread by placing the triangle on bottom and thread on top so I could make sure the thread was in the middle of the stich as I sewed. 

And done:

So get cracking and bunt up some fall decor!


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

pumpkin season

I'm sure it's not a shocker to anyone, but Fall is my favorite season, 
so long as it's filled with pumpkins and scarves.

It's also the optimal decorating season.  Summer offers little interior inspiration that doesn't seem overly tied to celebrating the Fourth of July, and all of my spring decorations are Easter related. Winter offers fall some steep competition, since Christmas lights come into play, but fall pulls out ahead, with its soft natural colors, varied textures, and of course, gourds galore! 

So, what was in store for the forum in October? 

Some pumpkins of course, mini ones on the mantel and table:

My fall wreath with pinecones, pumpkins, and leaves:

Some metallic pumpkins also on the mantel, and some fall garland with felt, fabric, and burlap bunting and bows:

And a coffee table placement of more metallic gourds and a crocheted leaf pot holder (from Mema of course):

I'm still hoping to add some more garland in the dining room, and some felted pinecones and fabric pumpkins around. 

And, Megan and I will be carving some pumpkins that are sure to add some flair to the front steps!