Monday, November 29, 2010

Christmas Time is Here

Our small tree looks rather large in our tiny barn apartment. It fits perfectly. We also finally have candles in our two small windows and our country home now seems complete. They're so lovely glowing in the night.

We don't have a lot of ornaments just yet. Our tree is somewhat bare, but it's a good start. I had planned on making a perfectly coordinated tree with matching ornaments, but I found a pack of mismatched retro ornaments and just had to have them. They look just like the ornaments my parents have on their tree, which once belonged to my grandmother. I love having my own little set. Nestled between them on the tree are two ornaments with the words "Love" and "Faith", gifts from my mother-in-law. She gave them to us last Christmas saying "As long as you have those two things, your marriage will do well". It's neat to have the meshing of our families in our first Christmas tree. Ohhh, Christmas. You make me awfully sentimental.




Thursday, November 25, 2010


Our first married Thanksgiving was lovely. It started with Lucas watching me jump up and down with joy as the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade began. We headed out to my parent's house shortly after where I had my father's famous breakfast (which I look forward to all year long- SO GOOD) and spent time with my amazing family (minus one brother who is sadly in Ohio- miss you, bro). We ended our Thanksgiving with a dinner with my in-laws and A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. And a slice of apple pie with homemade whip cream. Happily stuffed.

Now it's time to clean up the mess I made yesterday while making four, yes, four pies.

See what a mess I was? Hair all askew and flour covering my entire apron. Scrappy was finding all kinds of pie dough to lick off of my pants. But totally worth it.


Pretty, right? It helps that we also have a new lens, our nifty fifty (50mm), which produces some pretty rad pictures. I like the low lighting and how the kitchen looks sort of industrial.


Anyway. . .

Happy Thanksgiving
I hope yours was as wonderful as mine.

Monday, November 22, 2010


Lucas and I spent our weekend in Ocean City for a youth conference. Two years ago, at that same conference, our little romance started. So, I had to be sappy and say "remember when ______ happened" a lot. The conference is even more fun now that we're married and get to road trip together and stay in the same room.

We spent some of our free time taking pictures out on the water.

Unfortunately, he wiped out shortly after this picture on an algae covered rock, promptly ending our photo shoot. He's okay. Just a little banged up. And disappointed that I didn't get a picture of the ordeal.

It was a fun weekend, but I'm happy to be home again. Luke has the day off and set up my Christmas tree. Exciting :] I can hardly believe Thanksgiving is this week. It's time to get baking. I've got pies to make!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


My husband came home with two pairs of ripped jeans in the same week.

Fixing them up makes me feel like such a wife.

Domestic bliss.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Apple Sauce

Last week I made my first batch of apple sauce. I made the sauce nice and chunky. And very sweet of course. I like my sugar. I also like homemade food to be rough and rustic.

Apple sauce is really easy to make. You simply peel, core, and slice the apples then cook them until they're soft. Next, you can puree them in a food processor or mash them in the pot, then add sugar (about 1/4 cup per pound of apples). At this point, you can leave the sauce plain or add spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, or allspice) and bring the sauce to a boil for a few minutes. If you plan on canning the sauce, fill your jars (leaving 1/2" head space) and process them for 20 minutes.

Friday, November 12, 2010

White Chocolate Chip, Oatmeal and Cranberry Cookies

My mother-in-law made these cookies last Christmas. While over their house one night, Lucas made about five trips down to the kitchen to get some more. So, as you can see, he really enjoys them. Around the beginning of our marriage, a few months later, I started craving them and decided to make them myself. I'm admittedly not a very good cookie maker. I get distracted in the short baking time they take and they often get burnt as a result. But, I've found it very hard to screw up these cookies. They're so chewy and soft, even when I let them bake for a little too long. And I feel semi-healthy when I eat them since they have fruit and oats in them. It's like the theory my friend Stacey and I created about balancing out an unhealthy meal of ice cream with an apple. Lucas doesn't agree with my theories. But I still stand by them.

Oatmeal Cookies with White Chocolate Chips and Cranberries
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 1/2 cups quick cooking oats
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) of unsalted butter, slightly softened
  • 2 large eggs beaten lightly
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/3 cups dried cranberries
  • 1 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  2. Spray baking sheet or line with parchment paper
  3. In a medium bowl, mix together dry ingredients
  4. Mix together butter and sugar in separate bowl until light and fluffy
  5. Add eggs and mix well
  6. Add honey and vanilla and mix until fully blended
  7. Add dry ingredients to wet mixture in two additions, mixing well after each addition
  8. Fold in white chocolate chips and cranberries
  9. Drop tablespoon servings of dough onto baking sheet, 2 inches apart
  10. Bake 9-11 minutes

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


After I damaged Lucas' old camera (whoops) it seemed time to get my own. He has been doing photography for years now. He has done lots of weddings, shows, and portraits and since being married has shown me a lot about photography and increased my interest in the art. Many of the pictures here on this blog were taken by him. My point and shoot camera's pictures have just started to look so sad and plain compared to the beautiful, crisp pictures his camera takes (Canon 7D). But, after much studying and anticipating, I now have my very own SLR camera. We decided on the Canon Rebel T2i, which fits perfectly in my petite hands. His camera has always been a bit too big and heavy for me. My hands feel nice and steady with this lighter camera. And my pictures are less shaky.

I've been spending my days reading books on digital photography and Photoshop and practicing, practicing, practicing. I'm still learning but Lucas and I are in the midst of expanding his photography business. We've been daydreaming about one day having a studio in our future home. But for now we're using the outdoors as our studio, trying our best to capture nature in photographs, and plan on doing some portraits and wedding photography together. It's exciting. And scary. But mostly exciting.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Simple Pleasures

There are so many little things that bring me joy... A quick, cool breeze. The sound of fall leaves crinkling under my feet. The amount of yellow in my kitchen. That leap I get in my heart when I think about Christmas drawing near...

And the warmth of a tall salted caramel hot chocolate. Even if they did spell my name incorrectly. Still just a little bit of joy in my day.

Monday, November 8, 2010


I still have no clue how to pronounce the Greek word for spinach pie, but I have mastered the recipe. I get ridiculous cravings for junky food like Kit Kat bars and pizza, while Lucas gets cravings for more hearty meals like Italian sausage and spinach pies. Usually my cravings are fulfilled once I eat and savor whatever my current craving is. His seem to last a lot longer. Since he's been on a real spinach pie kick lately, I felt it was my wifely duty to learn how make some homemade spinach pie. I felt all fancy when I told him we were having spanakopita for dinner, until he let me know I pronounced it wrong. Wah waaaah.

I modified the recipe slightly. In the picture you can tell that the phyllo looks a tad thin. It's only 4 sheets on top and bottom here, but next time we plan on doubling it. You, however, may like a thinner layering. Adjust accordingly :]

Spanakopita (or Spinach Pie, for us less fancy girls)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 5 green onions, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 lbs spinach
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup crumbled  feta cheese
  • 16 sheets phyllo dough
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • Salt and pepper, if desired
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and lightly butter a 9x9 or 8x6 in. baking pan
  2. Heat oil in sauce pan
  3. Saute onion in olive oil until translucent
  4. Add in butter, green onions, and garlic and cook until soft and lightly browned
  5. Stir in spinach and parsley and cook until reduced, about 2 minutes (add salt and pepper if desired)
  6. Remove pan from heat and cool
  7. In a medium mixing bowl, mix together ricotta and feta cheese with eggs
  8. Mix spinach mixture into cheese mixture
  9. Lay down one sheet of phyllo dough and lightly brush with melted butter
  10. Repeat with 7 more sheets of phyllo
  11. Spread spinach and cheese mixture over sheets of phyllo
  12. Lay down one sheet of phyllo dough and lightly brush with melted butter
  13. Repeat with remaining 7 sheets of phyllo
  14. Tuck in any overhanging sides of phyllo
  15. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until golden brown
  16. Let the pie set up then serve!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Pork Chops w/Apple Cider Sauce

At the advice of the owner of Deer Park Farm, I made some apple cider sauce with pork chops for dinner this week. Typically the only apple recipes we see are desserts, but they work beautifully in dinner recipes as well. They add a nice touch of autumn and go really well with pork chops.

Pork Chops and Apple Cider Sauce Recipe
  • 4 pork chops
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon butter (for pork chops)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 apples, cored and sliced
  • 1 tablespoon butter (for sauce)
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 1/2 tablespoon corn starch
  1. In a skillet, melt butter and oil together
  2. Salt and pepper pork chops then brown on both sides in skillet
  3. Introduce apple slices to skillet and cook over medium heat
  4. Turn down heat on skillet as you make the apple cider sauce
  5. To make apple cider sauce, melt butter in a sauce pan then mix in corn starch. Next, mix in spices and brown sugar. After well blended, mix in apple cider and bring just to a boil. Turn down heat and simmer for 3 minutes.
  6. Pour half of cider mixture over pork and apples then finish cooking
  7. Plate pork then pour the rest of mixture over it, or reserve for gravy.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Canning, yayy!

I did some canning this past weekend. It's not really official canning because pesto in fact cannot be preserved as jams and other sauces. But it was exciting none-the-less.


I made a huge batch of pesto, with special help from my hubby (he harvested the basil for me and washed it). I was able to fill four small jars for immediate use and froze the rest for long term storage. Because of the pH level in pesto, it is not recommended for canning with the purpose of long term usage. There is not enough acidity to aid in proper preservation. However, it can still be canned and enjoyed within a week or two. Since four cans of pesto is way too much for this couple to consume in a two week period (at least without becoming totally sick of it), we gave away two jars to share the joy with others. Hopefully they can handle the heat. I went a little overboard with the garlic. The Walthers are all about garlic.

Speaking of garlic, I need to plant mine this week!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Fall Festitivites

Saturday night the husband and I joined the church youth group for a bonfire and hayride. It was a really fun night. I felt 16 again as I belted out lyrics to "Don't Stop Believing" with the girls and danced the Cha Cha Slide. Then immediately felt old again as I ran out of breath and energy from said singing and dancing.The bonfire was held on the farm of a really nice couple who grow thirteen varieties of apples. The hayride portion of the night gave us a nice tour of the orchards. Though exciting, the hayride through apple trees in the dark was very reminiscent of a zombie horror film (which Lucas lovingly pointed out to me). I got some good tips on how to make the best use of apples from the lady of the farm (including apple cider sauce- stay tuned). They even gave us free apples!

 They're so pretty

In the spirit of Halloween weekend, and simply because I love any excuse to dress up (especially in a theme), Lucas and I dressed up as greasers. Mainly because we already had the appropriate attire at home. Lucas wasn't entirely thrilled with the idea, but he went along with it. He even put on music in the car befitting a couple of cruising greasers. I get wrapped up in themes and daydreaming. 

He gets me.

Makin' S'mores!