All Things Pumpkin

Adding pumpkin puree or apple sauce to my year round baking adds both sweetness and health benefits. Pumpkin is packed with iron, vitamins A and E, and fiber. Apples are packed with vitamin C and fiber. Either choice is a win.  Every fall from my CSA bounty, I make and freeze bags of pumpkin puree (see guide below) and apple sauce to use all year round.

Pumpkin Pancakes

My pumpkin pancakes were a last minute fluke and definitely aren't from scratch. I take the basic Bisquick box recipe and tweak it to make it work with pumpkin puree.

2 cups Bisquick mix + more for thickening if needed
1 cup milk
2 Tbs coconut oil
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
1-2 cups pumpkin puree or apple sauce

Since the puree or applesauce varies in consistency, I mix everything together and then determine if the batter needs additional bisquick mix. This recipe is very forgiving, which is why the amount of puree is flexible. Since I typically freeze my pumpkin puree in 2 cup batches, I use one batch at a time. But if I have already added some to a soup or different recipe, than the left over puree ends up in pancakes.

Other pumpkin perfect links:

 +  My 2010 guide to roasting neck pumpkins for year round pumpkin puree.

 +  Guide to squash and pumpkins, a handy guide for farmers markets.

 +  CSA Inspired Stuffed Acorn Squash

 +  My favorite Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe from Two Twenty One.

 +  Brown Butter Pumpkin Waffles

I am working on a pumpkin bread and also pumpkin chili. Neither recipe is quite right, but I look forward to sharing when they are. What is your favorite way to incorporate pumpkin?

Field Notes: NYC Midtown

In August we took a last minute trip to New York City for the weekend. The air was already getting crisp and leaves were changing. Just a few hours north of DC. I couldn't bring myself to blog about the cooler weather on our trip until the season began to change in DC. I kept waiting for the temperatures to dip, but it has been an unseasonably warm fall in Washington. So here I am, the last week in October writing to you about our August trip on a summer like day in DC. A long overdue post that might never happen if I just don't start writing.

When planning to take a 3.5 and 1.5 year old to New York, we immediately crossed off some of our own favorites and NYC must see attractions. Too young to appreciate the 911 memorial or statue of liberty and definitely too young for us to fully enjoy a day in Greenwich Village or Soho. We thought about the brooklyn bridge, the high line and the bronx zoo, but decided to save those for trips when the boys were a bit older. After some brainstorming and hotel comparing, we settled on Midtown for a few childhood classics on our list with plenty to explore in the south end of central park. A hotel view over looking central park sealed the deal.

Day One:

+ Central Park - paths for Behr to zip along with his scooter and fun parks to check out. We loved Hecksher Playground which still had its water fountains on for summer. Bonus planning tip: Hecksher has bathrooms. We passed a few smaller playgrounds that seemed less crowded, we will definitely check those out next trip.

+ The Central Park Zoo, which is really perfect for young kids. We arrived just in time for the Delacorte Music Clock turn the hour. We explored the exhibits, some which weren't stroller friendly, and stayed to watch the feeding of the sea lions, and incredible show!

+ FAO Schwartz, where my own NYC childhood memories came streaming back, especially when we played the giant piano! The boys each picked one small keepsake and opted for Pixar Cars, Lightning McQueen and Doc Hudson. Even still when they play with these they talk about NYC, which makes us excited to plan our next trip!

+ Rockefeller Plaza and NYC Pizza - this great recommendation from Colleen and the perfect dinner after a day of walking, walking, and more walking!

Additional unplanned highlights included: street food, street performers, a friendly chat with a police officer, rock climbing in central park, stumbling upon Balto, and passing a gorgeous wedding outside Park Plaza and more horses than my nose could handle, but the boys sure loved them.

Day Two:

+ Redeemer Presbyterian - we visited the East Side service at Hunter College, but quickly shuffled down to the basement to listen to the audio only to realize that Tim Keller was preaching, on patience of course!

+ Central Park - we spend Sunday morning strolling Central Park, the gazebo, the mall and literary walk, and concluded our adventure with street hot dogs and soft pretzels.

If you are planning a trip with kids under 5 to NYC, I highly recommend Midtown. For more tips about all things New York, check out Emily's blog.

Stitch Fix #14

I've said it before but I am seriously not a fashion blogger. Getting dressed only happens on a good day, and when I do, I often rotate through the same cozy items. I am currently wearing a pair of jeans for the third day in a row. Did you know that having less spandex (only 2%) is actually amazing sometimes!? I have been on a kick of jeans with stretch but then after the second day, all I can see are my baggy knees. The point here is, comfort and durability are super important to me. My latest fix was absolutely that and I couldn't be more excited to share it with you. 

1. Mavi Gold Jeans
Speaking of comfortable, these jeans (seen in all the pictures) were the first item I put on from my fix. Three hours later, I realized I forgot to take them off. Definitely keepers. They are dark, dark denim, not quite black, but such a good base. I rarely keep pants that come in my fix, but these were the perfect fit and replaced the dark pairs I had last year that are now too big (its been a long journey friends, and my thighs still love each other...)

 2. Mystree Braylee Hooded Utility Jacket
This is the jacket I wanted to love. I opened the box and immediately got excited. But then I didn't love the hood, and I wanted it to be a vest, and the sleeves were long. Instead I asked about 20 people in my life and now I am asking you. Is it too short? Too boxy? It looks great here, but am I ever going to want to put it on instead of my field coat?

3. Loveappella Chelsea Mixed Stripe Knit Shirt
This shirt is so comfortable. But I am not sure I can handle the mixed stripe. It somehow seems a bit too athletic or edgy for me. What do you think? Also, the side photos were not flattering, so you don't quite get the full effect of the different stripes. But trust me. And seriously, tell me what you think.

4. Loveappella Evie Draw String Funnel Neck Sweatshirt
This is like heaven in a blanket that you can wear and be seen in public. Seriously. It is lightweight, so I wont have to frantically take it off in a hot flash moment. I've joked with my mom that having kids preps you for menopause, the chasing after them and lugging things makes me hot and sweaty all too often. But back to this sweatshirt/ is knit so I would call it a sweater. I love this, don't you?

5. Market and Spruce Margerie Stripe & Dot Open Cardigan
This was a surprise for me. I have a few open cardigans already, but it wasn't until I saw this one new that I realized my old ones are starting to look a bit shabby. A few to many wash cycles over three years and they are faded and pilling. I haven't added an open cardi to my daily rotation since Behr was born, so this came at the perfect time. And it is reversible. I think it is a winner. How about you?

You feedback on my stitch fix posts is so helpful to me. I really appreciate your comments and suggestions. Especially how you would wear these items. I have a hard time deviating from jeans and flats, jeans and flats. Give me all your thoughts!

And I would love to know, have you tried Stitch Fix? Or considered it? Did you know they offer gift cards? Perfect for Christmas...hint, hint, just in case my sisters are reading.

Disclaimer: compensated affiliate links may be used in this post.

Hudson Eighteen Months

Hudson, this past month you have been talking and climbing and climbing and talking. You have done a million things, but these two activities are highest on your list. You have scaled just about every conceivable surface in our home, including the wall AC unit to get up to and stand on our window ledge. You have jumped off the kitchen table and not learned your lesson. You fall off the back of the couch regularly. You keep me constantly on guard and break all the rules.

You eat crayons.
You chew on your bed rail, still!
You refuse sleep, adamantly pointing out of the bedroom the second we walk anywhere near it.
You scream and persevere in the fight against sleep.
If you get the slightest impression I might be cooking, you dump your plate basket and grab one to furiously bang on the counter until I feed you.
When I turn my back, you start the dishwasher, turn off the AC unit, or stash the TV remote in a super secret hiding place.
This morning you sent your first email, fortunately just to dad.
If there are buttons, you will find them and push them.

You have also been talking quite a bit more, but not necessarily more words. You say: HOT, hhhhhhot (with a raspy/throaty emphasis on the H), Up, and Hi, hi, hi (that one rarely comes alone).

Thankfully you now sign "more" and "all done" when it is appropriate. For a few weeks, our communication was touch and go, but we have developed a nice rhythm with hopes of your vocabulary growing. Behr thinks you say even more words that your Dad and I simply don't hear or can't seem to translate into common english.

You have also resumed snuggling. When I pick you up, you either touch my face with your hands or rest your head on my shoulder. Thank you for reminded me that I am in fact your momma and you do still need me. Your independent streak often leaves me doubting.

Incase you or anyone else is wondering, Hudson, you are the primary reason for my blog being neglected. Reread this post if you have any outstanding questions.


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