Coffee Talk: October

neighborhood-walk

I love Amber Thomas’ and Rachel Dawson’s monthly coffee dates, so I thought it might be fun if I joined in (a little belatedly). I think the structure is really fun, and I’m interested to play with it and see what happens.

If we were on a coffee date, I’d probably be late. Because honestly, I’m almost always late. I don’t have a great sense of time and I tend to try to do “just one thing” before I head out the door and then inevitably, I’m late. I’m trying to do better, but if I’m honest I’ve had an especially hard time getting out the door the past few months.

If we were on a coffee date, I’d apologize profusely for being late, and order my drink. A plain iced latte if we’re at Starbucks, but if we were at Minuti (a local Italian-inspired coffee chain that I LOVE) I’d get an iced chai. It’s creamy and cinnamon-y and not too sweet, which is perfect. But always iced, because it’s not quite chilly enough in Houston to drink something hot.

If we were on a coffee date, we’d have a lot of catching up to do. It’s been quiet around here on the blog, partially because I’ve been in a writing slump, and partially because I’ve been unsure what to do with this space. I’ve really struggled to find a focus, so for now I’ve decided to do more personal writing, since those are always my favorite blog posts to read. We’ll see where this goes!

If we were on a coffee date, I’d confess that I’m disappointed our Halloween plans fell through. I’m planning on wearing my costume next year, but it was just so good that I’m really disappointed that I can’t wear it this year. I’m planning on making peanut butter balls and eating them on the couch while we watch a movie instead. Reese’s is the only candy I’ve really missed since I’ve started eating low carb, so I’m excited to try making sugar-free peanut butter balls. Fingers crossed they turn out!

If we were on a coffee date, I’d remember that I started my low carb diet almost a year ago. And since then I’ve lost 46 pounds (so 55 pounds total since April 2015). I’m feeling pretty dang proud of myself! I’d probably also advise against a major dietary change the week of Halloween. Speaking from experience, it’s just not a good idea. 😉

If we were on a coffee date, I’d ask what your holiday plans are. Christmas is my very favorite holiday, so I love hearing about other people’s fun family traditions and disaster stories that are retold so many times they become legendary. My first Thanksgiving with Teddy’s family was a group Thanksgiving dinner with some people from their church who we’d never met. When we realized we were the first Huizingas to arrive, we were so petrified of knocking on a total stranger’s door that we parked down the street and hid in our car until Teddy’s parents came. Even after we were inside the conversations with the church group were SO awkward and the boxed-mix mashed potatoes were SO bad we decided next time we’d ask to have a family-only Thanksgiving. Teddy and I still laugh at that awkward first Thanksgiving as a married couple.

What about you guys? Can you even believe it’s already October?? Do you have any fun holiday traditions you’re looking forward to?

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Looking Forward To — Summer + Ice Cream Sandwiches

Summer+IceCream

1 / 2 / 3 / 4

It’s already starting to feel like summer in Houston, and while I already miss the spring weather, I’m really looking forward to pooltime, summer thunderstorms, and ice cream! This is the first summer I’ve had an ice cream maker, so I’m SUPER EXCITED about eating homemade ice cream on the porch after dinner. I’ve especially been craving ice cream sandwiches lately, so here’s a round-up of all the recipes I’ve got my eye on:

I’ve been obsessed with chai lately, so chai ginger ice cream sandwiches sound amazing! Is it bad that I’m thinking about making them not vegan?

Just look at all these fancy ice cream sandwiches!

I bought Yossy Arefi’s Sweeter off the Vine a month ago, and I can’t wait to try these strawberry ice cream sandwiches with cocoa nib poppy seed cookies!

Would it be weird to eat gingersnap eggnog ice cream sandwiches in July? I can’t decide.

My grandma always made cracker cookies, so I’d bet money that these saltine crack ice cream sandwiches are to die for!

A couple weeks ago I wrote about how excited I am for peach season, so these peach gingersnap ice cream sandwiches sound perfect.

Have you made an ice cream sandwich with semifreddo before? It sounds really interesting…

This isn’t an ice cream sandwich, but I can’t get over Joy’s cream cheese red velvet ice cream. It sounds so over the top and amazing!

What about you? Do you have any summer food cravings?

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Weekend Thoughts / 39

Daylight Savings

Daylight savings is killing me! One day I left work a little early and finally got to see the sunset!

 

October was a really hard month for me. I was stuck in a creative rut  and trying to figure out some weird health things so I was a lot of fun* to be around. (*Note heavy sarcasm) And then I started the Ketogenic diet the week of Halloween, so that was… interesting.

 

But good news is, the first week of November has already been way way way better than October! The transition to the Ketogenic diet has been going pretty well (besides the candy I ate on Halloween… and drooling over people’s desserts on Instagram). And I even have an outline for my second draft, so I’m hoping to start on that in the next couple of weeks!

 

It’s been pretty quiet around here lately, but I’m kind of ok with that. Sometimes I go through phases of wanting to write just for me, and none of it really seemed right for a blog post. I’m trying to give myself permission not to be super rigid about my blog schedule. That being said, I have some ideas I’m really excited about, so I can’t wait to share those with you!

 

In the meantime, here are my favorite reads from around the internet this week:

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Weekend Thoughts / 38

Glamorous

My glamorous Sunday plans are a dead ringer for last Sunday’s — minus Teddy’s random t-shirt, which is now in the wash.

 

Happy Sunday! I hope you’re all recovering from a sugary/ boozy Halloween! Teddy and I went as Calvin and Susie Derkins from Calvin and Hobbes, with Hobbes and Mr. Bun. Most people thought Teddy was dressed as Goku from Dragonball Z and had no clue who I was, but it was still fun.

 

Here are some of my favorite reads this week:

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Weekend Thoughts / 36

Sometimes you just need to read an old favorite.
Sometimes you just need to read an old favorite.

 

Hey everyone, what are you up to this weekend? I’m crossing off an item on my fall to-do list and going to the Texas State Fair. I’m probably munching on something fried while I wait in line for the Ferris Wheel. So much fun!

 

Here are my favorite links for the week:

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A Quick Life Update

Making friends with our new neighbors.
Making friends with a super cute new neighbor.

 

How has your week been? I hope it’s been a good one! My week’s felt like an old Friends episode — remember the episode where Monica’s mom says she “pulled a Monica” because she baked a fake nail into her lasagna? That’s pretty much been my life this week.

 

But besides my “pulling a Monica” moments, I managed to finish my rough draft on Tuesday! I had originally planned on finishing it by November, and then I decided I could finish by October 15… and then I finished a month early. I still can’t believe it! I have a lot of thoughts and feelings about it, which I’m planning on talking more about next week. So far this week I’ve been celebrating with ice cream, and I’m planning on visiting a bookstore and getting some tacos this weekend!

 

Teddy and I decided to eat vegetarian for a week, and so far it’s been going pretty well! So far we’ve stuck to old favorites like Joy’s spicy vegetarian tortilla soup and Jeanine’s spring green lemon & basil pasta. Tonight we made some quick pickled veggies which weren’t as quick as we expected… so we went to Chick-fil-A. But that means our pickled veggies will be ready for dinner tomorrow. I’m excited! We’re not planning on becoming full-time vegetarians, but we’re hoping to incorporate more vegetarian meals during the week, so it’ll be nice to have some favorite recipes in our back pocket. I have my eye on this jalapeño and cauliflower mac n’ cheese for next week!  

 

I’ve been craving a non-writing project for a while, but ever since I finished my rough draft I’ve been pinning so many DIY projects — and I’m the girl who avoids DIY projects at all costs! (I usually agree with Victoria: DDIY — Don’t Do It Yourself.) Right now I’m leaning toward this weaving tutorial: now all I need is a loom and some yarn.
That’s pretty much all I can think of that’s new around here. Hope you guys had a great Thursday, and that your Friday is super short!

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Weekend Thoughts / 33

Last Week

 

Man, this has been a week! I loved having a long weekend, but it definitely messed with my inner schedule. I didn’t know what day it was half the time!

 

What have you guys been up to this weekend? I think I spent most of my Saturday at the grocery store or chasing this dumb butt away from the toilet. We tried out a new toilet bowl cleaner that’s turned the water Lysol-blue for over a week now. So now I have to make extra sure the toilet seat’s down so someone doesn’t drink any toilet water (Yum!). Tonks of course denies everything…

 

Who, me?
Who, me?

 

 

To make up for having to hear about my cat’s toilet-drinking habit, here are my favorite reads of the week:

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Fake It Till You Make It: Fall Edition

This black n' blue pie from the Four & Twenty Blackbirds book was my goodbye to summer.
This black n’ blue pie from the Four & Twenty Blackbirds book was my goodbye to summer.

 

Disclaimer: if you’re in denial that summer is over and fall is on its way, you might want to stop reading now. Just look at the black n’ blue pie I made for Labor Day! So summery!

 

If you’re as excited as I am for fall, you can keep reading…

 

GUYS, IT’S SEPTEMBER!

 

Sorry for yelling at you, but I really am that excited about Fall. June was fun, July was busy and stressful, and August was miserably hot, so I’m totally ready for fall. There’s just one problem — I live in Houston. And fall doesn’t start here until October (at best).

 

So I’m going to fake it. While some people are holding onto summer and making every summery dish they can, I’m already thinking about the two fruits (and a vegetable) that scream fall to me: apples, pumpkins, and pears.

 

Unfortunately pears aren’t quite in season yet (at least here) and Teddy gets pumpkin-ed out really fast. But we’re both apple fanatics, so I’ve been looking up all the apple recipes. Here are 5 6 7 that have made it to my to-bake list:

 

1. These apple and cheddar scones from the Smitten Kitchen are definitely happening this weekend. Who could resist scones that are “October on a parchment-lined baking sheet?” Not me!

 

2. Kristin’s boiled cider is addictive — it’s great in an apple pie, it’s great on ice cream, it’s great on a spoon… Trust me, you need to make this.  

 

3. Lately I’ve become the weirdo person who only has whole grains and coconut sugar in their pantry (who am I?!?), so these whole wheat apple muffins are right up my alley.

 

4. This apple almond tart looks delicious. (Also Sarah’s apple tartlets look so fancy with the melty whipped cream and caramel sauce. Yum!)

 

5. Emma’s baked cheesy apple sandwiches sound kooky and delicious. I think it’d be perfect with a cup of soup!

 

6. This cinnamon-sugar apple skillet cake sounds like the perfect cake for having friends over. Or the perfect thanks-for-having-us-over cake if you’re the guest. Both are good ideas.

 

7. I’ve always been intimidated by homemade doughnuts, but these apple cider doughnuts remind me of the maple doughnuts that people go crazy for in Virginia in February.

 

8. I couldn’t resist adding these pumpkin cinnamon rolls because guys — they’re pumpkin cinnamon rolls. Who can resist that? I’ll just have to sneak them past Teddy.

 

Do you have any end-of-summer or beginning of fall baking plans? I’d love to hear!

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Weekend Thoughts / 32

Last Friday Night
My Novel Planner from Kristen of She’s Novel came yesterday, so that quickly became my Friday night plans.

 

How are you lovely folks doing this week? Right now I’m contemplating getting a second cup of coffee before the day really starts. Lazy Saturday mornings are my favorite, especially if they kind of turn into a lazy Saturday afternoon. Later I have some around-the-house stuff to do and lots of writing, but for now I’m really enjoying looking out the window at my thriving basil plant and dead mini rose plant. (RIP!)

 

Are you doing NaNoWriMo this year? I’m (very nervously!) trying it for the first time ever. I’m hoping to finish up the last 4 chapters of my current project by October 15, which will give me a short breather before the craziness of NaNoWriMo starts. If you’re thinking about joining in too, you should read Nicole’s post about why she decided to plot out her NaNoWriMo project instead of jumping in head first. She has some super good novel-planning ideas!

 

Here are some of my other favorite reads from around the web:

 

1. Jen made a reading nook for her daughter, Parker, and it’s so cute. One of the things I’m most excited about for my future kids is teaching them to read.

 

2. I’ve been baking with whole grains lately, and I was super excited when Emma posted a recipe for whole wheat flatbread! I’ll definitely have to try these out soon!

 

3. I feel like I’ve posted something from Joy every week lately, but I can’t help it, because she is KILLING IT. She turned Ina Garten’s “Engagement Chicken” to “Slight Fear of Commitment Chicken” and the results are both hilarious and tasty-looking. I could definitely use some “I Folded my Laundry like an Adult” chicken in my life.

 

4. This looks like the perfect Fall outfit — at least if you live in Texas. Does it mean I’m finally getting used to Texas weather if I’m picking out “Texas fall” outfits?

 

5. September 1st always makes me think of Harry Potter’s rides on the Hogwarts Express and the Sorting Feast. If you want to try Harry’s favorite treacle tart for yourself, you should check out Emma’s recipe from Poires au Chocolat — it’s awesome!

 

6. Indie bookstore owners/ employees talking about why indie bookstores are thriving is the BEST.

 

7. Don’t mind me, I’m just going to watch this video of puppies playing with the new BB-8 toy 57 times.

 

What are you guys up to on this long weekend? I have big plans to make a pie for Labor Day, inspired by this black and blue pie I saw on Deb Perelman’s Instagram. Sorry in advance if I post 20 photos of it!

 

I know lots of people are sad about the end of summer, but I honestly couldn’t be more excited. Sweaters, hot chocolate, cozy blankets, and no more 100+ degree temps are making me SOOOOO excited for fall. Whether you’re psyched or bummed about the end of summer, I hope you guys have a great Labor Day weekend!

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Weekend Thoughts / 31

Caught this little Derp Face during her "kitty yoga" session and I still can't stop laughing.
Caught this little Derp Face during her “kitty yoga” session and I still can’t stop laughing.

 

Good morning, lovelies! How was your week? For me it was one of those weird weeks that’s not particularly busy but goes by SUPER fast. All of a sudden I blinked and it was Thursday, and I wasn’t quite ready to post any of the blog posts I’ve been working on. Sorry it was quiet around these parts this week!

 

This weekend I’m planning on *finally* unpacking the last few boxes from the move. Please tell me I’m not the only one who procrastinates on unpacking the things you don’t need right this second, but don’t want to donate/ throw away either? I know this is the most first-world of first-world problems, so hopefully I’ll get my rear in gear today.

 

Here are some of my favorite reads from the interwebs this week:

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