everyday inspiration

Fall

life lately

[enjoying this || much needed girls night]


[feeling proud about this || hit my 100 peloton rides!
next goal: 150 for my live ride in NYC in Dec.]

[loving this || lots of cozy reading by the fire with poodle snuggles]

[laughing at this || gridiron show with the family
also, eating this amazing smokey and the (gouda) bandit pizza before starting my no-cheese 30 day challenge]

[watching this || adorable show at the Walton Arts Center with the best people]

[dressing up for this || H A L L O W E E N  P A R T Y !
post malone + the Gump family]

xo xo


The Perfect Cookies + The Famous Banana Bread [recipes]

One of my favorite things about Fall is settling into the therapeutic routine of baking. I’ve always loved the art of perfecting the chocolate chip cookie or the challenge of trying an ambitious, new recipe. Though, while I bake year-round, it never feels quite right until the brisk air seeps breezily through the open windows or the pumpkin vanilla candle burns to wick’s end.

That’s when baking feels like home.

With a quieter pace the last few weeks, I found two new recipes to try – one for a very special occasion and one to add a little bit of special to a typical week.


B R O W N E D   B U T T E R  +  T O F F E E   C O O K I E S

Very special occasion: Fred’s 75th birthday. I think the entire family would tell you these were a hit. And we continued to eat on them all week. Also, special shoutout to Candace for finding and sharing the recipe. To me, these will always be “Candace cookies.”

 

Ingredients:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
⅓ cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 chocolate toffee bars, chopped into ¼-inch pieces
1½ cups dark chocolate melting wafers
Sea salt

Directions:

  1. Cook butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring often, until it foams, then browns, 5–8 minutes. Scrape into a large bowl and let cool slightly.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk flour, baking soda, and kosher salt in a medium bowl.
  3. Add brown sugar and granulated sugar to browned butter. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat until incorporated, about 1 minute. Add eggs and vanilla and beat until mixture lightens and begins to thicken, about 30 seconds. Reduce mixer speed to low; add dry ingredients and beat just to combine. Mix in toffee pieces and chocolate wafers with a wooden spoon or a rubber spatula. Let dough sit at room temperature at least 30 minutes to allow the flour to hydrate. Dough will look very loose at first, but will thicken as it sits.
  4. Place a rack in middle of oven; preheat to 375°. Form ping-pong sized balls and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet, spacing about 3″ apart. Do not flatten; cookies will spread as they bake. Sprinkle with sea salt.
  5. Bake cookies until edges are golden brown and firm but centers are still soft, 9–11 minutes. Let cool on baking sheets 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely. Repeat with remaining dough and a fresh parchment-lined baking sheet to make 10 more cookies.
  6. Sprinkle more sea salt on top right out of the oven!

 

C H R I S S Y  T E I G E N  ( + T W I T T E R ‘ S )  B A N A N A   B R E A D

If you don’t know the story behind this banana bread, google it. It’s hilarious. Or buy her cookbook – I promise you it’s worth every penny. I’ve made 4 recipes so far and all have been phenomenal, this one no exception. A little chocolate chip banana bread for no reason, but to break the monotony of the week.

 

Ingredients:
2 cups mashed very ripe bananas*
4 eggs
2⁄3 cup canola oil, plus a little more to grease the pan
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus a little more for dusting the pan
2 cups sugar
1 (3.5-ounce) box vanilla instant pudding mix
1 teaspoon baking soda
1½ teaspoons kosher salt
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 (3.5-ounce) bar dark chocolate, chopped into chunks
Salted butter, for serving

*Get six brown bananas. Not four. Not five. Six. You will think you only need five because it looks like enough, but it will not be enough. You will get five, you will mash them, you will be about half an inch short and that makes a difference and you cannot get around it. Trust me.

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the mashed bananas, eggs, and oil. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, sugar, pudding mix, baking soda, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and combine well BUT GENTLY. I swear this came out differently when I used an aggressive electric mixer. Fold in the coconut and chocolate chunks.
  3. Grease and flour a Bundt pan (that means wipe a little grease all over the inside of the pan, dust it with flour, and tip it upside down to shake out any extra flour). Pour the batter into the pan. (This can also make two 8 × 4-inch loaves, but it’s so much more moist in one Bundt pan!)
  4. Bake until the cake springs back when lightly pressed and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 55 to 60 minutes. (Test it with a toothpick at around 50 minutes.) Let it cool slightly in the pan, then use a butter knife to gently release the cake from the sides of the pan and around the inner circle, then flip it onto a plate.
  5. Let it cool and cut it into slices. Rewarm them and serve them with salty butter!!

    What’s your favorite Fall baking recipe?
    xo xo

You might also enjoy: Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake Bars, Bourbon Apple Cake


life lately: fall party + kc weekend

3 R D   A N N U A L   F A L L   P A R T Y
[wine, appetizers + friends to celebrate the best season of all]


W E E K E N D   G E T A W A Y :   K A N S A S   C I T Y
[fun, albeit rainy, weekend getaway with friends + a concert][55 degrees and rainy shopping day on the plaza]

[KC must-eat: bbq!]

[the BEST brunch at the corner restaurant]

[WWI museum and memorial – highly recommend and beautiful views of the city]

[The National at Starlight Theatre – amazing show and we were so close to the stage!!
It did rain the entire show, but we made the best of it!]

[and THEN – Matt Berninger, lead singer of husband’s all-time FAVORITE band, came into the audience RIGHT NEXT TO US and husband sang into the mic with him. You have to trust me because I barely got a pic, but this “after” photo of husband is pretty telling. Life complete.]

xo xo


it’s fall y’all. [my favorite cozy recipes]

K + TC – this post is dedicated to you,
my favorite couple who tries all my recipes! 

Okay it’s fall, ya’ll. Officially fall in the books, and officially fall in the weather. Isn’t it crazy how that happens? 90+ degrees one day, then 57 on the first day of fall?! Someone up there knew us Arkansans were ready for some PSL weather. And yes, I did have my first PSL on that glorious fall morning.

This week I’m preparing for my 3rd Annual Fall Party next weekend. It’s been one of my favorite things to look forward to the last 3 years, and I’ve heard similar sentiment from friends. How could you not love a party celebrating the arrival of a new season with chunky sweaters, wine, cheese and all things pumpkin???

One of the best things about fall weather is FOOD. I have several recipes that only make their resurgence when the air turns crisp again. I’ve shared a few on the blog before, but here’s a roundup:

Italian Sausage Tortellini Soup – this is one of my all-time favorite recipes, and can’t wait to make it soon
Pumpkin Fettuccine
Bourbon Apple Cake
One-Pan Enchilada Pasta

Now, a new one to share – one of the staples in the Alderman household this time of year – CHILI.
Everyone has their own chili recipe, which I love, because there are so many ways you can change it to fit your tastes. This one I’ve honed over the years and it’s perfect for us. I made my first batch Friday night and already thinking about making it again.

M I L L E ‘ S   C H I L I 

Ingredients
1.25 lb ground turkey
2 cans beans – I prefer black beans + light red kidney beans
2 8oz. cans tomato sauce
15 oz. can stewed tomatoes
15 oz. can diced tomatoes
2 4 oz. cans diced green chilies
2 tbs. chili powder
2 tbs. cumin
dash of cinnamon!

Directions
Cook the ground turkey.
Drain and rinse the beans.
Combine all ingredients in crockpot on low for 6 hours.
Our preference: Serve with sharp cheddar cheese and jalapeños!

 

Let me know what your favorite fall recipes are, and if you try any of mine!
xo xo


Weekend Picturebook: Hermann, Missouri

You guys – Hermann, Missouri is ADORABLE. I cannot say enough good things about this quaint little town (pop. 2300!!). As we were driving in, Husband literally said, “Do you have the theme song of Gilmore Girls playing in your head right now?” The weather was perfect, the leaves were gorgeous, the streets were walkable, the people were friendly and the wine was flowing. Okay, enough talking, let’s get to the pictures!

F R I D A Y

img_0724

{welcome to Höehn Haus – our amazing little cottage for the weekend!}
hotel: inn at hermannhof

img_0543

img_0545
img_0540

{how about this bathroom?! with a fireplace! of course I took advantage of it … I took not one, but TWO baths this weekend}

img_0515
img_0554{we got in town just in time to watch the sunset on our patio with incredible views and of course, wine}

img_0565{dinner at tin mill brewery – a short walk from our cottage}

S A T U R D A Y 

img_0600

img_0583{big breakfast before all of the wineries … have I mentioned yet how amazing our B&B was?!}

img_0619
img_0626{our ride for the day – the wine trolley!}

img_0610

{first stop: adam puchta – not our favorite, but we got a $5 wine tasting of 8 wines (sips, really) so I’d say it was a win}

img_0632
img_0655{2nd stop: stone hill winery – our favorite!}

14915253_3463028487454_2929998820936478831_n{and where we got our best pic of the weekend}

img_0681
img_0676{3rd stop: oak glenn – gorgeous views of missouri river}

img_0686{4th stop: dierberg and star lane – this is where we had a very serious discussion about … our first born son’s name. ask us about it.}

img_0574

{final stop: hermannhof winery – our B&B’s winery, which we loved. luckily it was only steps away from our cottage …}

img_0720{though not easy steps … it may not look like it here, but these were treacherous even when you haven’t been drinking wine! and that’s not even our cottage you can see!}

img_0702{after a little nap and a little Mean Girls on TV, we walked back in to town for the best post-wine food ever – mac and cheese. and oh my gosh was this mac and cheese amaaaazing. husband got bbq steak and I got bacon and mushroom in truffle oil (mine won)}

S U N D A Y 

img_0706

img_0732{a little walk with more beautiful views before the 4 hr. drive back home}

img_0715

{stopped in at the hermann wurst deli and picked up some brats to take home to cook – who’s coming over this weekend?!}

img_0739{and of course, a road trip would not be complete without jack-in-the-box tacos}

xo xo

You might also enjoy: Weekend Picturebook: New York, New York; Weekend Picturebook: Denver


Just rest. And drink wine.

November 1 comes with a myriad of emotions. Joy and childlike excitement for the holidays. Subtle, but ever-present melancholiness for those no longer with us. And often times, stress and anxiety with the overwhelming amount of so much to do, to buy, to see.

We’ve been so busy the last few months, and the next two will be even busier. I love all the things we’re doing and all the people we’re spending time with, but it’s so important to rest – something very hard for me to do sometimes.

A couple of months ago, I had the foresight to book a weekend getaway just me and husband for some pure relaxation together. A weekend of solace in wine country … in Missouri! We heard about this little town called Hermann, Missouri with wineries, breweries and adorable B&Bs. {More on this later – you know there will be a dedicated blog post with pictures and reviews.}

My hope for this weekend is that we can turn off the noise, enjoy each other’s company and re-center ourselves. This way we can go into the holiday season with thankful hearts, a positive attitude and the reminder to sometimes say no to (good) things, and just rest.

Oh, and did I mention I’m staying off social media for the weekend? No facebook, no insta and no snaps … just wine and my husband. Just the way I like it.

xo xo


halloween + an 80’s movie update

I love Halloween. Really I just love dressing up for anything specific – give me a theme and I’m there. Or as my favorite fictional mother says,

“I’ll do just about anything if I can buy an outfit!” – Lorelai Gilmore

This year, we decided to dress up as characters from our favorite TV show of the year – Stranger Things. It’s about a 12-year-old boy who goes missing and his friends are determined to find him. Also a lot of weird sh*t starts happening in the town. It’s creepy, but not too creepy, and it’s set in the 80s – giving major homage to Stand by Me, E.T., The Goonies and many more.

Go watch it on Netflix now. Seriously, I promise you it’s worth it. And after you see our costumes, you’ll be even more intrigued.

img_0407{husband as dustin}

img_0405{me as eleven, looking creepy AF || my own mother didn’t recognize me in that blonde wig…}

img_0419

img_0436{I will forever cherish this polaroid of us || also, we won best couple costume}

img_0412{convinced some friends to be “the wall” and joyce byers}

img_0429

img_0430{and two random, but amazing polaroids from the night, for good measure}

Since we’re talking 80’s, I thought this would be a good time for an update on my 80’s Watchlist. I’ve been making headway on the girly movies:

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun (1985) – LOVE, LOVE, LOVED this movie. I want to be SJP and dance all day.

Can’t Buy Me Love (1987) – How adorable is a young Patrick Dempsey?! I also adored this movie. Can’t believe I hadn’t seen it until now.

Heathers (1988) – Okay, I know this is a cult classic, but someone should have warned me how dark it is!! Didn’t love it, but enjoyed seeing Winona Ryder and Christian Slater in their hay day.

Love Potion No. 9 (1993) – This movie was so cheesy and adorable and right up my alley. Sandra Bullock and Tate Donovan are so dreamy.

Teen Witch (1989) – Watched this one in honor of Halloween and again, LOVED. Please watch this scene. It’s hilarious, and awesome, and so 80s. TOP THAT.

xo xo