Pumpkin Pie Recipe

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Who needs those silly scented electric plug-ins? The smell of pumpkin pie just out of the oven fills the whole house with a delicious, festive autumn scent. I made up this pumpkin pie recipe today, and thought I’d share it with you. Let me know in the comments if you try it, or if you give it your own twist!

Ingredients in the crust: 

  • 1 1/4 cup spelt flour
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 7 Tbsp cold unsalted butter, in Tbsp slices
  • 1 tsp white vinegar
  • 6 Tbsp cold water

Ingredients in the filling: 

  • 1 can of pureed pumpkin (15 oz.)
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk (14 oz.)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • grated fresh ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • splash of vanilla extract

For the crust: Combine dry ingredients in a bowl, then use a biscuit cutter to work in the butter (unless you have a food processor and can pulse it together). Once combined,  add the vinegar and water, and mix with your hands to form and even sphere of dough. Put in plastic wrap and refrigerate about an hour.

For the filling: Combine the ingredients in a bowl, one at a time, each time blending with a whisk.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Once the crust has chilled, place it between to pieces of wax paper and roll out to a circle  large enough to fit into a 9″ pie pan. Place the crust in the pan. It should be hanging over the edge. Fold the rough edges back over the dough as pictured:

Fold over the crust all the way around, and fill it with the pumpkin mixture. Bake at 400 for 20 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 and bake for an additional 30-40 minutes, or until a knife inserted comes out clean. Let cool for at least an hour and serve with whipped cream, sprinkled cinnamon, and chopped nuts. Viola!

Autumn Favorites

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1. Favorite fall activity

Apple picking, of course.

2. Favorite Halloween candy

Reese’s

3. Best Halloween costume?

Dorothy…loved the ruby red shoes.

4. Top 3 autumn beauty products

Ilia Nobody’s Baby Lip Conditioner, Tsi La Organics Kesu perfume, Origins Sugar Cookie blush

5. Favorite fall colors

Merlot, hunter green, goldenrod, blackberry

6. Best Halloween movie

Anything by Hitchcock. Rear Window, Psycho, Vertigo.

Share your favorites in the comments, or post them on your own site! Here are the questions:

1. Favorite fall activity

2. Favorite Halloween candy

3. Best Halloween costume?

4. Top 3 autumn beauty products

5. Favorite fall colors

6. Best Halloween movie

 

New Natural Summer Beauty Products

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Products pictured and my thoughts about them:

  • Chocolate Sun Cocoa Lite Enhancer: This is an all-natural self-tanning cream for light skin tones. It’s pretty expensive, but it does actually work. It darkens my pale skin without making it look orange. Just be careful to wash your hands after applying it to avoid dark patches.
  • Origins VitaZing Moisturizer with SPF 15: VitaZing is sort of like a tinted moisturizer. It’s a unique product that changes color once it’s put on the skin. Sounds like a gimmick, but it’s true. It adds a “glow” to my face and makes me look like I just got back from vacation.
  • Whole Truth Along the Shore Detoxifying Bath Bar: Cute packaging, huh? This bar is exfoliating and lathers well. It has hemp, coconut, kelp, cocoa butter, and sea salt. I expected it to smell summery like coconut but it actually just smells like hemp, which I don’t like very much.
  • Ilia Lip Conditioner in In Paradise: A peachy nude melon color. I adore Ilia’s lip conditioners, and I already own them in other colors. I expected this one to be more of a pink melon, so I was surprised to find that it had quite a bit of brown in it, which is quite unflattering on my pale, rosy skin tone. However, I gave it to my mother who has olive skin and it looks amazing on her! The lip conditioner is very saturated,  and I believe this one is more pigmented than the other Ilia conditioners.

Spring Favorites

The past couple of months have been flying by! I got a promotion at the very beginning of March, so I’ve been really busy lately. Here are 10 things I’ve been enjoying this spring–

1. Roses. They were never really my favorite scent, but the romance of spring has me loving the scent lately. I have reviews of some rose-scented products coming up soon!

2. Sea Salt Caramels. Possibly the most delicious candy ever invented. Just one is enough to satisfy my sweet tooth.

3. Running outside. I’ve always preferred the gym, but for a month and a half, ever since I started my new job, I’ve felt like I needed to exercise in nature as a form of stress relief. It’s wonderful to see the subtle changes in the season happening from day to day.

4. Cute workout clothes. I’m telling you, if you think you don’t like working out, go to a sporting goods store and try on some colorful tops and sexy black workout pants. It makes all the difference! I splurged and got some Nike cropped running pants, colorful Under Armour tops, a “fit book” to record my workouts, and a lightweight water bottle to bring with me on runs.

5. Greyhounds. My local pet supply store has a weekly Adopt a Greyhound event, and the dogs are so sweet and gentle. If I didn’t work full time, I’d adopt one in a heartbeat. Can I quit my job and be a greyhound mother instead?

6. Gardening. I’m excited to get my patio ready for spring with a container herb garden, hanging flower baskets, a hummingbird feeder, the grill, and new patio furniture. So much to look forward to!

7. Spirit Beauty Lounge.com Can’t get enough of this website and all of the lovely products it has to offer. Over the past year, it has become my go-to source for natural and organic beauty products. Well, there and the Whole Foods apothecary section.

8. Tom’s shoes. I love the concept that when you buy one pair, another is donated to a person in need. These shoes are seriously the most comfortable thing my feet have ever experienced. I find that for a casual office, they are appropriate if you wear them with a pulled-together outfit.

9. Breakfast/brunch. It’s my favorite meal of the day, especially on weekends. Love coffee and whatever breakfast foods I feel like making. One of my favorites are blueberry pancakes, or eggs and spelt toast with fruit salad. There is something wonderful about having a leisurely breakfast in the sunshine on a Saturday.

10. Nutrition. Along with establishing a regular fitness routine, I’ve been paying close attention to balanced meals. It’s been helping lower stress to eat healthy foods that provide energy and nutrients. I’ve also been staying away from coffee (only allowed once a week) and instead enjoying green tea.

Wellness Series: Healthy Digestion

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Let’s talk about digestion. Digestion depends a lot on the nuances of each person’s body. Some people have fast digestion, others slow, or specific issues like IBS. I’m not going to get into the graphic details, but I thought nutrition for healthy digestion would be a great topic to cover.

As always with my wellness series, keep in mind that I’m not a nutritionist or a doctor! Each person’s needs depend on their individual bodies and health concerns.

Tips for healthy digestion:

- Drink plenty of water

- Eat raw veggies, which help cleanse your system

- Try an herbal tea, which can help sooth your stomach and calm nerves. My favorite is mint.

- Regular exercise helps keep your system working properly.

- Eat smaller meals with healthy snacks in between when  you are hungry, rather than eating huge meals. 

- Foods that promote healthy digestion: oatmeal, beans, avocado, whole wheat pasta, brown rice, bran, berries, broccoli, ginger, bananas, cultured yogurt such as Stonyfield Organic, beets, and sweet potatoes

I also started a Pinterest board on “Wellness” if you want to take a peek here.

Wellness Series: Healthy Skin

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As you all know, I’ve been on a nutrition kick, reading up on nutrition and how it affects various aspects of the body. Here’s what I found about healthy skin.

- All of those fancy skin care products that we like to use can actually irritate skin. Skin needs room to breathe. A gentle cleanser, moisturizer, sunscreen on days when you’re outside, and occasional spot treatment (if necessary) are what dermatologists tend to recommend.

- Regular, sweat-inducing cardio exercise helps release toxins from your body and can help clear up problem skin.

- Refined sugar, white bread, and caffeine can produce negative results for your skin. Alcohol can temporarily exacerbate redness.

- Healthy foods to eat to improve skin include salmon, nuts, leafy greens, tomatoes, blueberries, beans, carrots, bell peppers, mango, and oranges.

- Sometimes stress can worsen breakouts. I know that reducing stress isn’t always something that is easy to do, but getting enough sleep, spending relaxing time with loved ones and pets, and spending time outside in nature can all help lower stress levels.

Wellness Series: Strong, Healthy Nails

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I’ve recently been reading a lot about nutrition, wellness, and health. One topic of interest to me is healthy nails. I noticed that my nails have been brittle and peeling lately, so I did some research about how to make them stronger, and what kind of vitamins I might be needing.

If your nails are exposed to moisture (such as from frequently washing dishes), your nails may be more prone to softening, or if you work with your hands a lot, they can be subject to more wear and tear than is desired. Vitamin deficiencies can also be a culprit. A coat of clear polish can help your nails resist damage, but I think strong nails should start with proper nutrition.

Supplements to try for nail health:

- Linolenic acid: This acid can be found in flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, tofu, and vegetable oil

- Iron: A lot of women don’t get enough iron, especially if they don’t eat much meat. Try getting a daily vitamin that has iron included. According to WebMd, iron-rich foods include red meat, eggs, spinach and dark greens, raisins, clams, scallops, beans, lentils, chickpeas, and artichokes.

- Biotin: Foods containing biotin include milk and dairy, eggs, nuts, carrots, swiss chard, halibut, and strawberries.

Keep in mind, I’m not an expert, and this information I’m sharing below is found on the internet, albeit from reliable sources. Feel free to leave a comment sharing your own knowledge!

Rustic Wedding Inspiration

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I thoroughly enjoy daydreaming about weddings, and what mine might be like sometime in the next couple of years. I discover a lot of designers and ideas through Pinterest, and here are a few of my favorites.

Whitney Deal dress


Whitney Deal reception dress

Floral bridesmaid dresses by Whitney Deal

Light colored tuxes for the men. Photo by Jose Villa.

Ring by Satomi Kawakita

romantic flowers, roses and wild daisies via Once Wed

lovely tablescape from Style Me Pretty

Rustic cake stand via Ruffled Blog

Forget-me-not seeds from Magpie

homemade jam favors via The Knot

Rifle Paper Company invites

Rifle Paper invites

itty bitty chocolate favors by Magpie

lavender lemonade

Honey dipper favors

simple feminine makeup, photo by Jose Villa, makeup by Jordan Byers

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