Wednesday, October 27

Apple Pocket Pies

I love these little apple pocket pie molds from Williams-Sonoma.  As a warning, my first batch was an absolute disaster.  However, these came out a little better.  The mold came with a recipe, but here's my variation:

  • Store-bought Pie Crust (because I'm not great with crust)
  • 1 1/2lbs apples (approximately 3), peeled and diced
  • 1/3 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 tbls butter
  • 1 egg, separated
  • raw sugar (to sprinkle)

  1. Mix the apples, brown sugar, vanilla, and spices in a bowl
  2. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat.  Add the apple mixture and cook, covered, for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat and allow to cool for 30 minutes.
  3. Based on the dough directions, let the pie crust rest at room temperature.
  4. Using the apple pocket mold, cut out one solid shape and one decorative shape.  Place the solid shape into the bottom of the apple mold.  Spoon 1 to 2 tablespoons of the apple mixture into the center.  Brush the edges with the egg yolk.  Place the decorative shape on top and press gently with the apple mold, sealing the edges.  Remove gently and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  5. Repeat step 4 for the remaining pies, re-rolling dough as necessary.
  6. Freeze pies for at least 20 minutes.
  7. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.  Brush top of pies with the egg white wash.  Sprinkle with raw sugar.  Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown.

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Tuesday, October 26

A Casual Fall Dessert Gathering

My mother-in-law recently celebrated her birthday.  Getting her together with her three sons and their families was challenging based on different schedules, but we were able to get everyone together for afternoon desserts.  Each family brought a different dessert (Williamsburg Bread, Orange Cookies, and Apple Pies), and we spent the afternoon watching the grandkids, chatting, and feasting on desserts (...oh, and her men may have talked her into watching the Skins game as well).

Decorations came from the season... pumpkins, gourds, indian corn, acorns, and corn husk flowers.  Autumn colors dominated with browns, oranges, and golds complimented by the cobalt blue.  For flowers I mixed two grocery store bunches - one of eucalyptus and greens and one of yellow and orange flowers - to create custom arrangements for the party.

This is such a simple option for a quick gathering.  Almost all the decorations can be picked up from a farmers market or grocery store, and it takes no time to assemble.  Just grab some pumpkins and have fun with it.

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Sunday, October 24

Celebrating Fall... with Swords

Wow!  What a weekend.  Does anyone else feel like Fall becomes a very busy time?  There is so much to do and experience and celebrate come Fall.

Several weeks ago I shared my "bucket list" for Celebrating Fall.  We've already knocked several off... apple picking, celebrating my son's first birthday, making plum jam, watching football, and hay mazes with the kids. 

And now we've added another one this weekend... Highland Games and Celtic Festival.  As I've said before, this is not a traditional "Fall" activity, but it's part of our Fall.  And this year brought new experiences as I watched my little "princess" pick up a foil and try her hand at fencing.  This is my little girl who dances around the house, who dresses up in fairy wings, who loves tutus.  That same little three-year-old stood in line behind those 9 and 10-year-old boys, donned the head guard, picked up the foil, and walked fearlessly into the arena (and started chatting to the man while she used the sword).  Have I mentioned that she continually redefines the word "Princess"... and I love it.

For a blog about inspiration... she is one of mine.

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Tuesday, October 19

Pretty pretty hair bands

If you haven't been to MiaMoo Designs, you should really take a moment and check her out.  Katie is creative, takes great photos, and has two of the most beautiful little models you have ever seen.  And now she is selling headbands just in time for Christmas.  Aren't they just beautiful, and they looks great on moms and little girls.  Plus, she makes them in different color combos...  black, turquoise, champagne.  One for every outfit.

I really can't get over how adorable her daughter is here.

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Sunday, October 17


I'd like to tell you that I have been building a store of amazing ideas to share with you, but, alas, that is not the case.  However, I have been working on enacting some of those changes that I mentioned in my previous post.  After all that time to reflect, here are some of the changes that I decided needed to be made:
  • Sit-down for breakfast with the family every morning (rather than rushing off for work)
  • Set aside time to focus on my marriage
  • Make sure the TV is off at dinner time (even if it is in the other room) and enjoy talking with one another
  • Listen more.  Focus on people and stop multi-tasking (particularly at work)
  • Take a break during the work day to walk, read, anything as long as it is a break
  • Afternoon Tea!!!!!
  • Set boundaries with work.  Evenings are not automatically additional work time.
  • Set aside time during the week to care for myself
  • Try at least one new recipe a week, just to keep things interesting
  • Be more conscious about my food choices
  • Make time for the gym
  • Go to bed earlier
I'll let you know how it goes.  Obviously it tends to center around setting boundaries, making time for the important people in my life, and taking care of myself.  Balance.  One week in and I'm feeling better, even with work still being extremely high-stress these days.  Now to begin another week in the adventure.

And if you're curious, this week's new recipe is Pumpkin Sausage Pasta from Simply in Season.  Last week's was Pioneer Woman's Twice-Baked Potatoes (believe it or not, I have never made twice-baked potatoes... crazy I know), as featured in the Southern Living Easy Entertaining Special.  Great Fall recipes!  Any recommendations for some more fun new recipes to try?

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Monday, October 11

A Weekend Away

This blog - Pink Tea - was designed to offer a break from life's regular routines in order to refresh, reflect, and rejuvenate.  The truth is, however, that I have not been feeling inspired lately.  In fact, Friday afternoon I was as drained as I could be... physically, mentally, and emotionally.  Between high-stress at work, a sick child, and general craziness, I was ready to crack.

Thankfully, my husband whisked me away for our first weekend get-away without children since... well, since we had children.  I had no idea how badly it was needed.  We scheduled nothing.  We made no plans.  And we completely focused on resting and on reconnecting as a couple.

We went to this adorable B&B in Sandbridge where the proprietor, Petie, focusing on pampering you... jacuzzi tubs in the rooms, hot tub outside, luxurious sheets, and a three-course breakfast completely customized to your own preferences every morning.  (Example:  I love Eggs Benedict, but my husband isn't a fan.  So one morning she made me Eggs Benedict and made him a Southwestern omelet.)

The tranquility, the pampering, the rest... it all helped me realign my priorities and realize that I need to make some changes.  I'll share more on that later.  However, one lesson I will share now... We all need weekends away.  We all need time to rest and recover.  And if you are a parent, I cannot stress enough the value of that time away to just be a couple!

Breakfast Day 1
Course 1:  Fresh Fruit Mix
Course 2:  Feta and Pepper Egg Scramble with Apple Sausage
Course 3:  Apple Dumplings

Breakfast Day 2
Course 1: Fresh Fruit Mix with Yogurt
Course 2: Eggs Benedict with Sausage
Course 3: Stuffed French Toast

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Tuesday, October 5

Redskins Tailgate First Birthday Party

Here it is... my son's first birthday party.  And per the deal I jokingly made with my husband prior to ever expecting a boy, we finally had a Redskins first birthday party... a Redskins Tailgate.  To truly understand the humor in this, let me just say that I am the girl who watched every home football game in high school (dance team girl) and never actually understood the game.  And while I am now a Redskins fan by marriage, I still tend to watch the cheerleaders, the fans, the mascot... pretty much everything but the players.  Thankfully, I have a sister-in-law that helped point me in the right direction.

Warning before you read further:  There is a lot of burgundy and gold.

Staying true to the tailgate theme, we used three trucks as the food stations.  (My brother joked that it was a Ford Truck party instead.)

The first truck served our main meal... grilled sausages, burger sliders, chips and crackers with black bean dip, pasta salad, potato salad, deviled eggs, baked beans, and more.

The second truck was the drink station - the adult and non-adult varieties - with appetizers and favors for all.  The favors were red velvet cake in jars.

And the third truck served up the desserts... a spice cake with apple filling, dark beer chocolate cupcakes with salted caramel icing and dark chocolate football toppers, smore marshmallow pops, and peanut butter M&Ms.  It was kind for them to make the Fall M&Ms in the perfect colors to match the party decor.

I'm generally not a football fan, but the tailgate was a blast.

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Monday, October 4

Red Velvet Cupcakes with White Chocolate Footballs

My boss recently celebrated her birthday, and I wanted to make her something special for such a great manager and mentor.  I knew that she loves (and I mean loves) Red Velvet Cake, so cupcakes were a must.

I debated how to top the cupcakes given that there are two other things I know she loves... Beardies and Football (particularly the Hokies).  And since these great football chocolate molds had recently arrived for my son's birthday party, white chocolate footballs seemed perfect.

More to come on how these same ingredients were used in my son's party... though not together.

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