pumpkin pudding

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This pumpkin pudding tastes just like a creamy pumpkin filling without all of the fuss of making pie.  If you’re looking to simplify your Thanksgiving meal, then this is the way to do it.  The best part is that you can make it days before Thanksgiving and store it in the fridge and it tastes just as good.

Recipe adapted from Very Best Baking.

Pumpkin Pudding

Ingredients:

(makes 6 servings)

1/2 cup cold milk

1 pkg. (6-serving size) vanilla flavor instant pudding & pie filling

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp. ground ginger

1/8 tsp. ground cloves

1 c. pumpkin purée

1 recipe/package pie crust

whipped cream

Instructions:

1.) Mix milk, pudding mix, and spices.  Whisk throughly and then pour into desired serving dish.  Flatten and smooth, and refrigerate for 2 hours.

2.) Roll out pie crust and using desired cookie cutter ( I love the leaves for Fall), cut out shapes and place on covered cookie sheet.  Sprinkle with sugar and bake according to pie crust instructions until golden brown.  Let cool and then store in an airtight container until you’re ready to serve.

To serve:

Scoop pudding into dish, top with whipped cream and pie cookie.  Enjoy!

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xoxo, Keya

cowboy pumpkin pie

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Okay, so admittedly, the only thing cowboy about this pie is that I made it in a cast iron pan.  I have this love for cast iron that is almost visceral.  Something about using classic cookware and thinking about how people have been using the same things for generations. (That all being said, you can just as easily make this pie in a pie dish, but where’s the fun in that?)

Cowboys aside, this pumpkin pie recipe is perhaps the fussiest that I could have found.  It was one of those days when my mind was so busy and overrun with various ideas and thoughts that the only sufficient therapy was a fussy recipe.  But once you try it, you too will agree that it was worth the struggle.  The recipe is from Smitten Kitchen and before that, from Cook’s Illustrated.  

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Cowboy Pumpkin Pie

Ingredients:

(makes 1 pie, to make both the small and large cast iron pan pies, I doubled the recipe)

Pie Crust (your favorite recipe or store bought)

1 cup heavy cream

1 cup whole milk

3 large eggs

2 large egg yolks

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin purée

1 cup drained candied yams or sweet potatoes

3/4 cups sugar

1/4 cup maple syrup

1 1/2 tsp. ginger

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

1 tsp. salt

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400 ° F

1.) Roll out dough and place in pie dish.  Cut off excess crust leaving about 1/2 an inch of dough over the edge.  Roll the extra dough back into the dish and then, using your forefingers, press the dough to create a fluted edge.  Refrigerate pie dough for 15 minutes.

2.) Whisk cream, eggs, milk, yolks, and vanilla together.

3.) In a heavy-bottomed pot mix pumpkin purée, yams, sugar, maple syrup, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.  Bring to a bubbling boil over medium heat for 5-7 minutes.

 4.) After refrigerating dough, line with tin foil and fill with pie weights.  Bake for 15 minutes.  Remove pie weights and continue to bake until golden brown, if needed. (15 minutes was enough for my crust)

5.) Continue stirring pumpkin mixture, and mashing the yams against the side of the pan.  Don’t worry if there are still some chunks left in the mixture.  After boiling, lower to a simmer and continue cooking and stirring for 10-15 minutes.

6.) Remove pot from heat and begin slowing whisking in cream mixture.  Strain mixture through medium to fine mesh strainer.  Use the back of a spoon or ladle to mash excess purée through the strainer.  Re-whisk mixture and pour into warm pie crusts.  Place pie on a rimmed baking sheet to protect oven.  Bake pie for 10 minutes at 400° F .  Rotate pie and lower heat to 300° F and continue to bake for 20-30 minutes. ( Timing is for a normal pie dish, my pie was much deeper in the cast iron pan and needed to cook for about 20 more minutes).  When the pie is done, the edges should be set and a thermometer inserted in the center should be 175°.

7.) Cool pie for 2-3 hours before serving.  The filling will continue to set and cook after being removed from the oven.

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xoxo, Keya

P.S. Do you like the cameo made by our DIY Turkey Print Apron?

turkey print apron

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Okay, what is cuter for Thanksgiving than a turkey apron?  And while we were tempted to put a totally tacky giant turkey on ours, when we came up with this geometric pattern, we loved that it was both playful and (slightly) subtle.  Perfect for you or as a gift for your Thanksgiving host.

Ingredients:

basic apron

potato

stencil

acrylic (or other non-water soluble paint)

To make stamp:

Make or buy your stencil.  Then slice your potato in half or in the widest section.  Place your stencil on potato half (place your stencil opposite of how you want it to appear, think mirror image).  Trace around your stencil and then begin to carve out around your shape.  (We used stamp carving tools, which made it much easier!)  In the end, you want the image to be raised from the rest of the potato.

To make apron:

Lay out your apron over a sheet or drop cloth (the paint bleeds through) and starting from the top, cover stamp in paint and begin stamping!  We chose to stamp ours in straight lines, but a random pattern would be cute too!

Tip:

If you want to add details like we did on our turkey’s tail, scoop out excess paint from inside the grooves of the stamp before stamping (the end of a thin paintbrush works well to do this).

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thanksgiving table setting

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Between the turkey, all your family, and the general Thanksgiving bustle, a table setting should be the last thing you have to worry about.  Here’s one that’s simple and easy to prepare ahead of time.  Cover your table in butcher paper and mark each place setting with a place to list what your guests are thankful for.  We used rosemary wrapped with twine to add greenery but you can use whatever you have in your back yard.  Pears can also be replaced with apples, pumpkins, or squash.  This table setting is all about using what you have available to you! 

For our pre-thanksgiving, we served fresh bread and roasted garlic with butternut squash soup (recipe to come)! After dinner, everyone wrote down what they were thankful for and we enjoyed apple cake with caramel and our spiked chai lattes.  The food was delicious and taking a moment to write down what we were thankful for made us feel all the more grateful.

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xoxo,

 Keya and Erica

spiked pumpkin spiced chai

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This drink is warmth in a cup.  It’s sweet, creamy, and just a little spicy.  Each sip is like snuggling up in a cozy blanket by the fire. Fall perfection.  It’s also equally delicious served non-alcoholic.

spiked pumpkin spiced chai:

spiced pumpkin chai simple syrup (recipe here)

milk or preferred milk alternative

spiced rum

To make  (single serving):

I have a latte milk frother at home so I combined about 6 tbsp. simple syrup (adjust to preferred sweetness) with about 1 oz of rum in my mug and warmed it slightly in the microwave  for 30 sec.  Then I added my steamed milk, stirring to combine, and topped with cinnamon.  This recipe can be made just as easily (and in larger quantities) by warming all ingredients in a pot on the stove.  Make sure to use a low heat to prevent burning your milk.  Enjoy!

nashville travel diary

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We were visiting Nashville for one of our best friend’s weddings and absolutely fell in love with the city.  As soon as we arrived, we went all over asking locals for their recommendations and after receiving multiple lists of places to go, and with only 3 days, we went to as many as we possibly could.  If you ever visit (which you should), here are some of our favorite spots:

For artisan coffee, Barista Parlor and Crema are a MUST.  Barista is on the east side, which is sort of an up and coming area of Nashville, but full of good restaurants and bars- it’s easy to miss because it’s set back from the street a bit in an old mechanics shop.  Mas Tacos (below) and The Pharmacy are a hop skip and a jump away. Crema is downtown so try to pop by when exploring Broadway, Printers Alley, or The Ryman Auditorium.  Also stop by local favorites Frothy Monkey and Fido.  Frothy Monkey is in a super cute neighborhood worth exploring and is also near Burger Up, Jeni’s Ice Creamery, and Las Paletas.  Frothy Monkey is in the Vanderbilt/Belmont area so be prepared for students galore!  (Also, it’s T-Swift’s favorite coffee shop so keep your eyes peeled).

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The iconic Loveless Cafe is a must-stop.  It’s a bit outside of Nashville so make sure to set aside a few hours of your day to go.  It’s no longer a hotel, but many of the old rooms have been turned into shops so there’s some exploring to be done.  The restaurant itself serves pretty standard southern fare- good, hearty, and butter-filled.  If nothing else, order a plate of their famous biscuits and a cup of coffee (you’ll thank us later).

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Nashville is famous for meat-and-three (you choose the meat and 3 sides).  We went to Puckett’s Grocery which is practically located in The District (downtown) right next to the Ryman Auditorium (the original location for The Grand Ole Opry)  and just a few blocks walk to Printer’s Alley (a must stop for photos) and Broadway.  Another option that we didn’t get to try (there’s never enough time) is Swett’s.

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Our other favorite lunch spots, recommended to us by the locals, were Burger Up and Mas Tacos, which is great for a quick bite to eat.  (Make sure to try the horchata iced coffee at Mas Tacos!)

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Later in the afternoon, Las Paletas is a must-stop for gourmet popsicles.  Erica had the hibiscus and Keya had the avocado, both were delicious and a great way to get a break from the heat.

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Near Las Paletas is also Jenis’ Creamery, (yes we went to both in the same day) which is known for their unique flavors such as the Loveless Biscuits and Peach Jam.  We shared a scoop of Backyard Mint and Sweet Corn with Raspberries.

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Our favorite restaurant of the trip was Rolf & Daughters.  Listed by Bon Apetit as the 3rd best restaurant in the US, it lived up to its reputation.  If you don’t want a long wait, make a reservation ahead of time and we recommend you eat family style so you can try a bit of everything.

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For the ideal Nashville night out, you have to go to the district.  Be prepared to be handed demo CD’s and business cards, because everyone is a a star in the making, and everyone is talented.  The sound of live music comes from every direction downtown and the whole feeling is just very…alive.  Start at the Wildhorse Saloon for line dancing (don’t worry there’s a teacher), then walk down to Broadway and take in all the neon signs and people.  Head up Broadway and pop into all the local bars, (Tequila Cowboy is a fun one) and end your night at Tootsies, which is the epitome of the Nashville experience.  Different local bands share the stage as they play for tips so make sure to request a song!  The room is crowded and all the beers are straight out of the bottle.  It’s a no-fuss good time.

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Places we’ve saved for next time:

Hoffman House which is known for it’s cocktails, Husk for dinner, City House for dinner, The Pharmacy for burgers and beer, and Swett’s for meat and three.

P.S. Jean lovers should check out Imogene + Willie for a selection of Nashville artisan goods and quality jeans.

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xoxo, Keya and Erica

fancy diy silverware

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In the case that you can’t use real silverware, whether it’s because of the cost or the inconvenience, you don’t have to give up on a cute table setting.  For our champagne showers brunch we came up with this easy DIY that was both affordable and matched our pink and gold decor.  The great thing about this project is that you can use any color to go with anything!

ingredients:

plastic silverware (we used the kind that looks like real silver)

spray paint (we used metallic gold)

drop cloth or newspaper

Hold the handle of the plasticware away from you and spray the bottom with a light coat of paint on both sides.  Leave to dry and then apply a second coat.  If you want, you can create an ombre effect as well.  Make sure to avoid getting any paint near the top of the silverware.  Once completely dry, wash your plasticware with soap and air dry.

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