Month: October 2014

the anti cake pop

i looove cake pops.  they are delicious, adorable, and add decor to any cute party.  but they are THE most annoying things to make.  make the cake batter, bake the cake, let the cake cool, crumble it up, mix it with frosting but don’t over mix it, roll into balls, freeze, add sticks, freeze again, dip in chocolate, decorate, freeze again, thaw to room temp.  agh!  who has time for all of that?  if you do, great!  bring me some cake pops!  i do not.  so i make marshmallow pops instead.  all it takes is 10 minutes and a few ingredients for the cutest little dessert that kids love.  you can decorate with whatever sprinkles fit your theme and usually find everything else in your pantry.  this week we made halloween pops!

 

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what you’ll need: big marshmallows, chocolate chips, cute sticks or straws, sprinkles, and a bit of crisco for the chocolate.  it’s also helpful to have an egg carton to hold the pops while they set.

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start by melting the chocolate.  if you have bakers chocolate or almond bark even better, but chocolate chips will work.  if using chips, add 1/2 tsp of crisco for 2 ounces of chocolate before melting.  the crisco makes the chocolate smoother and easier to use.  melt the chocolate in the microwave (double boiler works also but that’s one extra pan to clean).   start with one minute, then stir, then 30 seconds, stir and repeat until smooth and silky.

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gently press a straw into a marshmallow and roll into the chocolate.  allow excess to drip for a few seconds.

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let the chocolate set for a couple minutes before adding sprinkles.  you need the chocolate to be wet but not too soft.  if you sprinkle right away they will sink into the chocolate.

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sprinkle away!  this is the fun part!

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let set at room temperature until hard.  set in the refrigerator if you need them to set faster.

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party ready!

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must try skillet apple pie

what should you do with those all those gorgeous apples you picked during your trip to the local apple orchard (or the local trader joes)?  make apple pie of course!  an even more rustic and adorable version is apple pie in a cast iron skillet.  everyone should own a great cast iron skillet.  if you can find one for fifteen dollars at a minnesota antique market, even better.  if you buy an antique, follow these instructions on how to properly season your pan prior to using it.  also remember not to clean your cast iron with soap or you will alter the flavor it provides.  i use mine for everything, browning meat, sauteing vegetables, and making sauces.  this was the first time i ever tried baking in cast iron, and it turned out extra yummy and pretty.  it’s also the easiest and most fool proof apple pie i’ve ever made.  also, i am not afraid to admit that i use a store bought pie crust because we just don’t have time for homemade dough making around here!

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start with a few pounds of mixed apples.  i like to choose tart apples like braeburn and granny smith, these also retain great texture while baking.

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peel, core and slice your apples.  this is the most time consuming and annoying part of any apple dessert.  i found my self constantly dreaming of one day owning this amazing peeler/corer.

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in a large mixing bowl sprinkle apple slices with sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and juice from one half of a lemon.  toss and set aside.  melt one stick of butter over medium heat in your skillet.  add one cup of brown sugar and stir until sugar has dissolved and started to foam slightly.  carefully mix in vanilla (mixture will bubble).  you are essentially making a caramel sauce that will bake underneath the pie.  amazing right?

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carefully remove the skillet from the stove top.  remember at this point it will be hot!  roll out one packaged pie crust and gently place it over the sauce.  do not worry about pressing it into the pan as the pan is too hot and the apples will weigh it down.  pour in the apples.

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make sure your kids are happy and occupied while you work.

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gently roll the second crust over the top, pressing it onto the edges of the pan.  do not worry about sealing it with the lower crust.  cut five or six slits across the top to allow steam to vent.  using a fork quickly scramble an egg with a splash of water and brush a thin layer across the top of the crust.  if you don’t have a basting brush you can use a paper towel.  sprinkle a spoonful of sugar evenly across the surface.  place pie in a 350 degree oven for about an hour.  be prepared, it’s super heavy at this point!

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after 45 or 50 minutes watch for the top to be golden brown but not too dark.  if necessary, cover with foil for the remaining bake time to prevent over browning.  test the apples by placing a sharp knife into one of the slits.  the apples should feel soft but not mushy.  allow to cool and set for 10 minutes before serving with your favorite ice cream.  i chose salted caramel because why not??

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cast iron skillet apple pie

 

ingredients:

3-4 pounds of mixed apples

1/2 cup unsalted butter

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup white sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

juice of half of a lemon

1 beaten egg for egg wash

1 box of packaged pie crusts (i used pillsbury)

preheat oven to 350 degrees.  peel, core, and slice apples into quarter inch slices.  toss with white sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and lemon juice.  set aside.  melt butter in the skillet over medium heat.  add brown sugar and stir until sugar dissolves and the mixture bubbles.  slowly pour in vanilla.  remove from heat.  gently roll first pie crust over the mixture and add apples.  roll second crust over the top, gently sealing along the edge of the pan.  caution – the pan is hot.  cut 5-6 slits to allow steam to escape.  brush a thin layer of egg wash all over the top crust and sprinkle evenly with a small spoonful of sugar.  bake for one hour.  check the color of the crust in the last 10 minutes, if necessary cover with foil to prevent over browning.  when apples are soft but not mushy, remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving.  top with ice cream.

 

family photo shoot outfits

so you booked your family photo shoot, now comes the fun part!  deciding what everyone should wear!  as a photographer who has shot a hundred fall family photo shoots over the past few years, here is what i consider to be the most natural, modern approach to styling your shoot.  i choose not to over style my holiday shoots, and advise clients not to do so with their wardrobe either.  most families (aside from families with newborns) choose to do one professional photo shoot each year.  and i think it’s better to have that shoot represent who they are as a family and who they are as individuals rather than the current season.  showing personalities is much more important than “matching,” so it’s better to focus on coordinating colors and similar styles.  you want to look like you all come from the same family but not necessarily shop at the same store.  i like to pick a color pallet (of at least three colors) that represents us and work from there.  some key words i like to consider are comfy, cozy, playful, warm, easy and casual.  for little guys it’s also very important to not let the clothes overwhelm them.  collared shirts are difficult on babies, as are jeans.  they end up hindering the baby’s movements and making their poses look forced and awkward.  casual knits photograph much better.

my color inspiration is a mug that we use at our house daily.  alex and i got it on our honeymoon in italy.  i think the colors are muted but playful.

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PhotoSessionOutfitsemily: rei felt hat; sam edelman petty bootie; romwe loose cardigan; classic cuts layered necklace

alex: jcrew sunfaded sweatshirt; suede chukka boots; rag and bone jeans

adam: old navy marled cardigan; h&m cords; toms paseo

lake: mini boden fair isle cardigan; gap cord bubble shorts; minnetonka moccasins

here are some other fun color pallet ideas:

kate spade platterkate spade platter

 

adler phone casejonathan adler phone case

heart print

this gorgeous water color print by micklyn

lunamaerug

lulu & georgia’s luna mae rug