Monday, October 31, 2011

RECIPE: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

This season calls for lots of recipes with pumpkin. Over the weekend, I tried out a recipe I found online for pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. The recipe claims to be more “cookie”like as opposed to “cake”like… I found it to be quite the opposite. At any rate, these are delicious!

1 c pumpkin
1 c sugar
1/2 c butter (room temp)
1 egg
2 c flour
2 t baking powder
2 t cinnamon
1 t baking soda
1 t milk
1/2 t salt
1 T vanilla extract
1.5 c dark chocolate chips
Combine pumpkin, sugar, butter, egg, and milk in a bowl and mix with hand mixer until well combined. In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix by hand until just combined. Add vanilla and chocolate chips and gently mix until incorporated. Drop by spoonfulls onto greased baking sheets and bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until light brown. 

Saturday, October 29, 2011

farmers market

my favorite discovery since moving to greensboro is the piedmont triad farmers market, located only a little over 10 minutes from my apartment. i’ve been visiting almost every week and i am going to be so sad to see most of it shut down for the winter. never have i loved veggies more than when they are so cheap and so fresh! i’ve collected lots of photos over the last few months. hopefully they’ll inspire you to visit your local farmers market!

Friday, October 28, 2011

chef #20: apple pie cupcakes

i got really, really excited about a recipe i found on pinterest for apple pie cupcakes (original source here). last weekend, martha and i decided to hit the farmers market and then try out this recipe. i’ll post the recipe and directions below, followed by photos of our baking adventure!

3 c flour
1 T baking powder
1/2 t salt
1 c unsalted butter (room temp)
2 c sugar
4 eggs
1.5 t vanilla extract
1 c milk
2 T butter
2 t cinnamon
2-3 T sugar
3 large granny smith apples, peeled, cored, & diced
1 c unsalted butter (room temp)
5-7 c confectioners’ sugar
1/2 c milk
2 t vanilla extract
1 T cinnamon
you’ll notice there are 3 separate sets of ingredients. the first set is for the cupcakes, the second is for the filling, and the third is for the icing. we’ll start with the cupcakes: in a bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt. with an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until fluffy. beat in eggs one at a time. add dry ingredients, alternating with milk. begin and end with dry ingredients. stir until just combined. divide batter into lined cupcake tins. we had enough space for 24 cupcakes and still had plenty of batter left over. i’d say we probably could have done 30 cupcakes had we had the room. bake at 350 degrees for 18-22 minutes or until golden brown. let cool completely.
for the filling, heat butter in a skillet over medium-high heat until melted. add cinnamon and sugar and cook for a minute (be careful not to burn!) until bubbly. lower heat to medium and stir in the apples. cook until apples are tender, 10-15 minutes. (tip: the smaller you dice your apples, the easier/quicker this step is) remove from heat and let cool.
while apple mixture cools, remove a chunk from the center of each cupcake. leave a rim around the top. fill holes with cooled apple mixture.
for the icing, beat butter with electric mixer until smooth. add 5 cups of sugar slowly, alternating with the wet ingredients. for a very stiff frosting, continue adding sugar until icing reaches desired consistency. (martha and i only used 5 cups and our icing was a bit thin until it was refrigerated.) stir in cinnamon last. frost cupcakes. (tip: we had a LOT of icing left over. i suggest finding something creative to do with it, or it will meet a sad fate in your sink drain like mine did.) ENJOY! :)

{ready to bake!}

{mixing the cupcake batter. they have a very "pound cake" consistency.}

{delicious apple filling}

{cupcakes, hollowed out and ready to go}


{icing the cupcakes with our very thin, but less sugary icing}

{finished product!}

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole

I've seen variations of this recipe for years and never tried it myself. This version came from a blog I found through Pinterest. I only changed it a little bit.

4 chicken breasts, cooked and cubed
1 c sour cream
1.5 cans cream of chicken soup
2 c crushed ritz crackers
1/2 c melted butter
1 T poppy seeds
1 T lemon juice
1 t worcestershire sauce
1 t minced garlic
1/2 t celery salt
1/4 t pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place chicken in the bottom of a glass casserole dish. Mix sour cream, soup, lemon juice, worcestershire, garlic, celery salt, and pepper together and pour over chicken. Mix crackers, butter, and poppy seeds together and spread over sour cream mixture. Bake for 30 minutes. Serve with your favorite veggies!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

october playlist

for the first several months that i blogged on tumblr, i had a special tab for music that mostly nobody looked at (don’t deny it. i have google analytics. i can stalk you stalking me.) instead of maintaining a continuous list of music i think you should be listening to, i am going to begin writing “playlist” posts whenever the mood strikes. so, without further adieu, i shall share with you what’s been grabbing my attention lately:

paradise | coldplay (their new album is out TOMORROW! I CAN’T WAIT!)
grace like rain | plumbline
something beautiful | needtobreathe (my new favorite band. their album the outsiders is incredible.)
through smoke | needtobreathe
lost in my mind | the head and the heart
all this time | onerepublic
God gave me you | michael henry & justin robinett
heartbeat | the fray
block after block | matt and kim

Friday, October 21, 2011

halloween decor

i've decorated my apartment for the upcoming holiday. i wonder if trick or treaters visit apartment complexes?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

DIY: autumn crafts

i saw an idea for cute autumn candles on another blog a while ago and decided to try them out this season. they are simple, inexpensive, and would also make great gifts!

STEP 1: collect supplies (4 types of dried beans from the local farmers market ($3ish), glass vases & tealights from dollar tree ($4), and twine ($5 for a huge roll) from walmart.)

STEP 2: layer beans

STEP 3: stick candle in top and finish off with a twine bow

i'm already planning to do these again at christmas with red and white beans!

Monday, October 17, 2011

chef #18: hannah's seafood dip

though i love to cook and bake, i rarely make my own recipes from scratch. after eating lots of good seafood dips this year, i decided that it was time to create my own. it was pretty good (but not perfect!) on the first try. it tasted a bit too “seafood-y” for my tastes. i know that’s the point of a seafood dip, but it was just very fishy. so… it’s a work in progress to get it just right:

(things in italics i’ve changed a bit and plan to edit next time)
8 oz cream cheese, softened
6 oz lump crab meat, drained (didn’t realize how expensive this stuff is! eeek!)
1/4 c shrimp, cooked & chopped
1/2 c shredded parmesan cheese
3 T mayonnaise

2 T milk
3 T chopped parsley
3 T chopped green onions
2 t lemon juice
1 t hot sauce
1 t worcestershire
1 t pepper
1/4 t garlic powder
blend cream cheese, mayo, milk, lemon juice, hot sauce, and worcestershire in a bowl with hand mixer. add all other ingredients and stir with a spoon until well combined. pour into glass dish and bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes. serve with bread, celery, or crackers.

Saturday, October 15, 2011


this morning, my friend meridith and i decided to strike out and do a bit of yardsaling around winston-salem. we did the same thing this time last year and didn’t find much, but this time around was a completely different experience! 
we started the morning at the AARF annual rummage sale. you had to pay $2 just to enter the sale, but it was for a good cause and they had a huge selection of everything you could imagine! we were particularly excited about this beanie baby in a halloween costume:

there were some weird things, too:

we visited a yard sale at the nc school of the arts where meridith was persuaded to buy a brand new, original snuggle. how happy does this snuggle model look?!?:

one of my favorite yardsale finds was this wig:

…it even matches her eyebrows perfectly! if any of you are wondering what old lady mer is going to look like, this is it! i think she looks cute and not frightening, as her fiance so lovingly put it.
after brunch at cracker barrel and a trip to we buy treasure, i came home to sort through my purchases:

1. shelf to use for under the sink storage
2. christmas ornament
3. pretty pottery bowl for dip/candy/small food items
4. vintage coke bottle
5. tree to decorate for the holidays (especially easter… trying to work it in for halloween)
6. banana republic tank
7. pink bandana (i have a lofty goal of convincing forcing zoe to wear this long enough for me to snap a pic)
8. over the shoulder purse
*all of these items together cost around $7.50

it was a good morning!

Friday, October 14, 2011

new kitty

world, meet seren! seren is my mom’s new 4 month old kitten, adopted from the guilford county animal shelter last week. she is friendly and sweet… the perfect mix of playful and calm. my mom always picks the best cats!
if you have known me and my family for a while, you know that our last cat was also named seren. are you confused? i was, too. serendipity passed away last december. this new kitty is named serenity. kind of neat to give her the same nickname. i’m officially calling her seren 2.0 until the time that i get lazy and just start calling her 2. :) i am so happy that my mom has a new cat. my whole family already loves her.

EDIT: mom changed her name to nellie.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

chef #17: tomato tortellini soup

two things i love are a) trying new recipes and b) cooking for friends. what an exciting day when i get to do both of these things! i found the following recipe on pinterest (still haven’t checked out pinterest yet? you should!):

9 oz frozen cheese tortellini
2 cans (10.75 oz each) tomato soup, undiluted
2 c vegetable broth
2 c milk
2 c half & half
1/2 c oil-packed sun dried tomatoes, chopped
1 t onion powder
1 t garlic powder
1 t dried basil
1/2 t salt
1/2 c shredded parmesan cheese
prepare tortellini according to package. meanwhile, mix all other ingredients (except cheese) in a large pot and cook over medium heat. stir in tortellini, followed by cheese. simmer for 15 minutes, then serve, garnished with a sprinkle of cheese. (i served mine with salad and crusty grain bread.)

Sunday, October 9, 2011

interview skills

brandon is now working for best buy (go buy a cell phone from him!). a couple of weeks ago, i volunteered to help him practice for his first interview. i asked him questions and typed up our conversation. the following is my favorite part of our mock interview:

H- tell me about your strengths
B- i have extraordinarily strong calves and hamstrings…
B- dude, don’t type that
H- i’m writing it all down!
B- no, you’re not. why would you want to do that?

i’m not sure how he answered the “strengths” question during the real interview, but he must have said something right (or shown off his calves), because he got the job! :)

Saturday, October 8, 2011

dixie classic fair

i love october because it means the arrival of the dixie classic fair… a hannah tradition as long as i can remember! this year, i was lucky enough to go two days back-to-back. i love the rides, the expo building, the food, the lights, the games, the people watching… all of it! here are my favorite shots from the 2011 fair (and yes, i realize that most of them are food. oops! i was too excited most of the time i was walking around to stop and take pictures of anything else.)

{thank you martha elster for agreeing to pay $5 to make my ferris wheel fantasy come true}

{moravian chicken pie from friedland moravian church}

{pumpkin funnel cake with powdered sugar, cinnamon sugar, and maple syrup}

{super hero sheep? he has a cape and a mask!}

{no, i didn't eat any deep fried butter. maybe next year.}

{chicken on a stick + coke = $10}

{no, that's not mustard on her burger. that's LIQUID CHEESE.}

{stand in line, take pictures}

{entrance to the midway}

{i visit these guys in the expo building every year. they have the best seasonings and dip mixes!}

things i was too distracted to photograph, but were still awesome:
  • martha’s deep fried bacon on a stick
  • my deep fried oreos
  • brandon’s successful venture at darts that won me a stuffed monkey
  • the popcorn fanatic’s buffalo wing popcorn
  • terrance b, hypnotist (the MOST entertaining show i’ve seen in a while)

i already can’t wait ‘til next year!