Friday, November 29, 2013

~*~*~* THANKSGIVING 2013 *~*~*~

Today is just a little recap from our Thanksgiving this year. I am so incredibly blessed to have the most amazing family and friends! We had our "Mannsgiving" the Saturday before Thanksgiving which was fantastic! We have such a big family that everyone has a billion places  to go on actual Thanksgiving so it was nice to sit down, relax and spend the day with everyone we love. Then, that night my sister had her birthday at a friends house. There were four live bands, and we got to hang out with a lot of friends who live in the downtown area. Always a great time when these awesome people get together! Last but not least, we had Thanksgiving at my house this year. I roasted my first Turkey ever!!! It was so much fun to host this year, and the best part is we got to keep most of the leftovers!!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Enjoy the photos!

~~~~~ Mannsgiving ~~~~~

~~~~~ Glassford Thanksgiving ~~~~~

P.S. Looking for some Thanksgiving recipes and/or decor ideas. Check out my November + Thanksgiving Decor and Recipes post. 


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Apple Buttermilk Cake/Muffin Recipe

I have been on a buttermilk kick lately. There is something about it that makes everything you cook with it utterly delicious. I use it to marinate my southern fried chicken, and I have recently discovered that baking with buttermilk makes everything turn out moist, tender and delectable.  

A couple weeks ago I found this apple buttermilk muffin recipe. It looked legit so I gave it a try. It was amazing!! The inside was soft and moist with bites of tender and tart apple. It was everything you could want in an apple muffin. 

Then, last week my boyfriend's mom asked that I make dessert for a Birthday get together. I knew exactly what I was going to make. I was going to take that amazing apple buttermilk muffin recipe and turn it into a cake! I wasn't sure if it was going to turn out correctly, but hey you can't knock it until you try it. So I did, and the results were incredible!

*Recipe adapted from here

For the Apple Buttermilk Cake/Muffin Recipe you will need:
*Yields (1) 9" cake or (12) muffins

- 2 cups All Purpose Flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup + 2 Tbsp buttermilk
- 1/2 cup butter melted and cooled
-  1 1/2 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 large egg
- 4 small granny smith apples (or 2 large granny smith apples)
- 2 Tbsp sugar
- 2 tsp cinnamon

For the cake/muffins:

Place rack in middle of oven and preheat to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Start by combining the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in one bowl. In the bowl of a mixer, or separate bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, melted butter, buttermilk, oil, vanilla extract and egg. Once you have your two bowls of ingredients, peel, core and dice up the apples. You can cut up the apples to your preference. I diced into small cubes, but you can leave them larger if you like. Once all apples are cut up, sprinkle on the 2 Tbsp of sugar and 2 tsp of cinnamon, and stir to combine. Slowly add the flour mixture to the buttermilk mixture while stirring to combine the two. Once combined, fold in the apples.

If you are going to make muffins, grease or use baking cups for all 12 cups on the muffin pan. Spoon into muffin pan 3/4 the way full or all the way full for extra large muffins. Sprinkle tops with a little mixture of cinnamon and sugar. Bake in preheated oven for about 20 minutes or until golden and toothpick inserted in muffin comes out clean.

If you are going to make a cake, grease and/or line a 9" round cake pan. Place batter into pan and spread to flatten out the top. Sprinkle the top with a little cinnamon sugar mixture. Bake in preheated oven for about 30 minutes or until golden brown and toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

*Note: If you want to make a double layer cake as shown in the pictures, you will need to double the recipe. 

Allow muffins or cake to cool on a cooling rack and add icing or caramel once the cake/muffins are completely cool. I quickly learned that putting icing on the warm muffins would result in melted icing on the counter below, but they smelled so good and I couldn't wait to taste one!! You live and you learn, I guess. 

For the caramel sauce you will need:
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup butter at room temperature
- 1 cup heavy cream at room temperature
- 1/2 tsp salt

*Note: It is important to use room temperature butter and cream so that the caramel sauce does not harden when you add the ingredients.

Place a few tablespoons of sugar into a saucepan over medium heat. Allow that sugar to melt before adding the remaining sugar. Heat sugar until it is all melted and becomes an amber color. This will only take a few minutes and you will need to watch carefully as to not burn the sugar. Once it has reached an amber color add in the butter. It will bubble up a little, but don't worry it is supposed to. Take the pan off of the heat and slowly add the heavy cream. Stir the caramel to ensure everything is incorporated. If your sugar starts to harden you can put it back on the heat and try to get it to melt. Once everything is combined you can add the salt. Keep caramel off heat until it cools. Be careful because the caramel is extremely hot! Do not try to taste it as you will burn yourself. Once the caramel cools a little you can strain it into a jar. This will also help get rid of some tiny little sugar clumps you may have in the sauce. Allow caramel to cool completely before using (about 1 hour). Store leftover caramel in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

For the icing you will need:
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1 to 2 Tbsp milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract

Combine the powdered sugar, vanilla and 1 Tbsp of milk in a bowl. Stir together until it becomes icing like. If it is too thick, you can add additional milk until it is the constancy you like.

Drizzle or top the muffins/cake with the caramel and icing. The cake/muffins are not super sweet since it is more of a breakfast recipe. The caramel and icing add sweetness to make this recipe a little more indulgent.

This recipe is great as a dessert or a breakfast. Perfect for thanksgiving morning or bringing to a family/friend get together. You will definitely impress people with your baking skills as this cake is incredibly moist and delicious. You can even make this the day before and store it on the counter, covered, or in the refrigerator. Take it out of the fridge about 1 hour before eating so it has time to come to room temperature. If you do happen to have any leftovers, you can store cake on the counter covered for a couple days or in the fridge for up to a week.

Hope you guys enjoy!


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

November + Thanksgiving Decor and Recipes

My family has decided that we should host Thanksgiving at my house this year. It will be the first Thanksgiving that I have ever hosted so I am a little nervous...ok more like incredibly nervous. So I have been stock piling recipes and decor ideas for our first Thanksgiving. The more prepared I am the less nervous I feel, plus all of the ideas on pinterest are really inspiring me and I hope that I can wow my parents for my first Thanksgiving.

Here are some of my favorite decorating ideas:

1. These rosemary rings are perfect! I have a large rosemary plant in my backyard and string left over from projects so this is a very simple, cost efficient and elegant DIY that I can use for my Thanksgiving table. I have a feeling I will be using a lot of fresh rosemary all throughout the season for cooking and decorating. 

2. I love the idea of a string of pinecones. This little collage provides some great rustic inspiration for Thanksgiving decor.

3. I think it would be really cute to have these "I am thankful for" placemats for the table. Before dinner we can all go around and say what we wrote.


4. I do not own any cloth napkins so I am looking for a set that would go with almost any holiday. I love these ace & jig napkins that will be in Anthropologie stores (not online). I may just have to go shopping this weekend to pick up a few. Or if I can't find them, I may stick with a more neutral design. 

5. I currently have a round dark wood table in my dining area. I am keeping the table setting natural and simple. No table cloths or table runners. I love these pictures of a rustic looking Thanksgiving table so I am going to try and stick with that theme. Wood table with white dishes and little touches of color from the rosemary and centerpiece. In the end I believe a simple setting will look more elegant than a whole bunch of random stuff everywhere.

Here are some great recipes that I have been planning to use for Thanksgiving:

1. Fist and foremost, I plan on using a brine and oven roasting the turkey. My parents usually buy a smoked turkey, but I want to impress them with my cooking skills. Plus it is my first turkey so I want to go the more traditional route. I found this great brine recipe from the Pioneer Woman Cooks. I trust her cooking skills so I will stick with her traditional recipe.

2. I will probably end up using this method to roast the Turkey, but I am still doing my research. 

3. I love the idea of having a seasonal alcoholic punch for everyone to enjoy. I am sure my dad will have his favorite beer, but this would be great for the rest of us. Now I just need to decide on which punch to make because they all look so good!

4. As for the sides, I plan on making a traditional sausage and herb stuffing as well as mashed potatoes, gravy and cranberry sauce all from scratch. My dad has the best mashed potatoes and he taught me how to make them when I was young. I found this great slow cooker cranberry sauce recipe that sounds easy and delicious. My parents offered to make the green bean casserole and my mom's infamous buttermilk dressing salad. Since I am making everything else, I guess they can help out a little. :) 

5. Now for my favorite part of the meal...the dessert! I plan on making my mom's infamous sour cream apple pie. It is a regular at our Thanksgiving table and our standard for apple pie in general. I already have my pie crust recipe that never fails, thank-you, Alton Brown! I have also made the apple pie many times before so I am not worried about it. My dad is a strict Marie Callender's pumpkin pie eater. He never makes his own  and will probably refuse to eat any other pumpkin pie other than Marie's. So even though I won't be making the pumpkin pie from scratch, I know that my dad will be happy and it will take away the stress of making two pies.

Regardless of how things turn out, it is always nice to spend quality time with your family.

If you like what you see, you can follow me on pinterest here. Also feel free to leave your pinterest link or any ideas you are planning for Thanksgiving in the comments. Since this is my first time hosting Thanksgiving, I am looking for any and all inspiration I can find.