October was, without a doubt, the month of the pumpkin. Did you catch the #virtualpumpkinparty? If you didn’t see it, you should absolutely go check it out right now. Over seventy bloggers provided some wonderful-sounding pumpkin recipes for you last week, and I want to make all of them. (I’m still working my way through reading all of those lovely posts.) The weekend before the pumpkin party hit the internet, I had an IRL pumpkin party with friends and it was one of my highlights of the month for sure. Here are some other things I’ve been loving this month:
Ben Rector – I was familiar with some of his songs because Robert had introduced me to them. However, I find it easier to get “into” an artist when I personally find them and can listen to one of their albums on loop. Ben kept popping up on one of my Pandora stations recently so I decided to look into him more, and this happened to be a few weeks after he had released his newest album. I bought it as soon as I learned about it and I can’t get enough of it. Genius that I am, I realized if he had a new album he was probably on tour. So within a few hours one evening I discovered his newest album, fell in love with it, and acquired tickets for Robert and me to see him perform in Philadelphia at the beginning of October.
So we kicked off this month by seeing him live at the TLA in Philly. Even though Robert got pooped on twice (by birds) while we were waiting in line for the show, it was amazing. We would have gone to see him again the very next day if we could have. There’s something about his music where the slower songs make me very thoughtful and feel all the feels like a good sad book or movie, and then his more upbeat tunes make me feel like I can accomplish anything and like I’m about to have the best day of my life. Seriously – how can you not feel great while listening to this song? I love his music. He ended the concert with the song I walked down the aisle to and it was perfect.
Traveling – I scooted up to the Boston area last week for a quick weekend visit. I went up there to hang out with (and meet IRL for the first time) Liz from Floating Kitchen and Abby from The Frosted Vegan. I’ll cover that wonderful trip in detail in a separate post, but I just wanted to mention how much I enjoyed seeing a new city. I’ll be traveling to Chicago next week for the Blogher Food conference, and I’m excited to experience another new city and try out the restaurants (and meet more bloggers!). These whirlwind weekend trips are always so fun; I wish I had more time for them. There are just so many fun cities in the USA that I’d love to visit: Nashville, Austin, San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, etc. I want to see them all!
Hatchery – I almost signed up for Hatchery’s tasting box a few times, but finally went through with it recently when Broma Bakery offered a discount code for $10 off. The way this thing works is that each month they send you a tasting box featuring a few sample sizes of different artisanal food items like cocktail mixers, condiments, etc., along with recipe ideas for how to use them. My first box came the other week and included a beer jelly, gochujang (Asian pepper sauce), a sweet and salty mix (with flavored sugars and salt), a vegan Caesar salad dressing, and a spicy crunchy topping (shown on top of mac and cheese). Fun, right?
We used the Caesar dressing on a salad one night and it was great. I was a little nervous about the gochujang (since it’s a little spicy), but I’ve been using it all week to make a spicy mayo and now I want to put that on everything. I’m still working out ideas for how to use the other goodies. I’m not entirely sure I’ll stick with this every month, but my plan is to ride it out for a few to see how it goes, and then maybe just do it from time to time to treat myself and shake things up in the kitchen. Otherwise, knowing me, I’ll probably end up with a million tiny sample bottles in my pantry that I forget to use. The other nice thing about the tasting box is that if you find something in there you love, it’s offered with free shipping that whole month in the marketplace on their site. If you don’t do the tasting box you could always just shop around on there for interesting food products. Have you guys tried the tasting box? What do you think?
RECIPE BUCKET LIST
I haven’t been doing as many recipe wish lists lately, so I want to start throwing a “recipe bucket list” into these Things I’m Loving posts. Between recipe-testing for the blog, testing out cookbooks and just trying to figure out dinners that are as fast and easy as possible, I find it to be more and more difficult to try out new recipes from around the web. I’d like to do more of that, so maybe if I just pick a few to focus on I can actually get it done. Maybe? I can’t guarantee I’ll get to them, but here are a few that have caught my eye recently:
• Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Whipped Goat Cheese from Food52
• Soft Pretzels from Appeasing a Food Geek (I want to put the sweet/salty mix from my Hatchery box on them)
And of course I had to pick a few from the #virtualpumpkinparty:
• Pumpkin Challah from Girl Versus Dough
• Yeasted Pumpkin Waffles with Candied Ginger from Kitchen Konfidence (I do love a yeasted waffle)
• Roasted Pumpkin Risotto with Crispy Prosciutto from My Blue & White Kitchen
• Pumpkin Swirled Mashed Potatoes from Heartbeet Kitchen
• Baked Pumpkin Donuts from The Fauxmartha
Mid-November marks two years of blogging for me. (Yay!) To celebrate, I’m holding an Etsy sale for the entire month. Use the code “2YEARS” in my Etsy shop to receive 30% off your order. If you’ve been eyeing up a print, now’s the perfect time to get it. They could also make great holiday gifts (hint hint).
Illustration at top created with Photoshop.
Prints of my illustrations are available in my Etsy shop, and you can find prints and other products with my work on them in my Society6 shop (like pillows).
*This post contains affiliate links.