Apple Crumble and Weekend Tidbits.

Did you all enjoy your weekend? Oh my goodness, the weather here in the Northeast was amazing – you couldn’t help but spend your time outdoors. It was that perfect sneak peak of Fall weather and oh, I am so looking forward to Fall (as it will bring a new little man into my life… 1.5 months and counting)!

Other than hiking through the ever-changing colors of the Shenandoah foliage, one of my favorite Fall pastimes is apple picking. It never fails to bring out that child at heart – there is something so special about finding that perfectly sized, shiny apple. It just makes you want to clap your hands in delight and deliciousness! And yes, I was clapping often.

Somehow, I am incredibly lucky enough to live 5 minutes from an amazing apple and peach orchard at Carter’s Mountain, one of the many wonders Charlottesville has to offer.

Carter's Mountain

Not only are the views spectacular, the orchards are abundant, the apple cider is mouth-watering, and the peach frozen yogurt out of this world! It’s a must stop if you are in the Charlottesville area.

KK's Apple Barn w watermark

Unfortunately, my husband reigned me in and gave me a limit to the number of apples I could pick…so with a dozen apples (and another dozen peaches, but more on that later!) in my bag and perhaps a couple already in my belly, I headed home pretty darn content and ready to bake.

KK's Apple w Watermark

Now, I know many of you would go straight for the apple pie, but honestly, I’m a cobbler and crumble kind of gal. So after a quick Google search, I came across the perfect apple cinnamon crumple recipe courtesy of Two Peas and Their Pod.

Here’s what the recipe calls for:

8 cups peeled, cored, and sliced apples (about 9 medium apples)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup all-purpose Gold Medal Flour

For the crumble topping:

1 cup all-purpose Gold Medal Flour
1 cup old-fashioned oats
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, diced

After eating another two of the apples, I was left with 10 fairly large apples to work with (the perfect amount for 3 pie-sized crumbles) so I played around with the measurements a bit…

Picked and Peeled w watermark

…but it’s pretty darn difficult to ruin a crumble so for all you non-bakers out there (like myself…), this is a recipe to try! If you love the caramel taste of brown sugar or vanilla extract, feel free to add a little more, or cut down on the sugar and add extra oats for a healthier version.

The Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

2. In a large bowl, combine apples, lemon juice, vanilla extract, granulated sugar, cinnamon, and flour. Gently toss until apples are well coated. Let the apple mixture sit while you prepare the crumble topping.

3. For the crumble topping: in a large bowl, combine the flour, oatmeal, brown sugar, granulated sugar, salt, and cinnamon. Stir together with a whisk. Mix in the butter with your fingers until the mixture comes together and you have big crumbles.

4. Place the apple mixture in a 12 inch skillet. Sprinkle the crumble mixture evenly over the apples. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the crumbly is browned and bubbling. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Apple Crisp w Watermark

A 12-inch skillet was use over at Two Peas and Their Pod – I chose to use pie tins only because I wanted to give a couple as gifts (it’s much more savvy to hand over a pie tin that a large skillet!). If you are making this only for yourself, I highly recommend using the skillet.

What a glorious end to a perfect semi-Fall weekend – vanilla ice cream with warmed apple crumble. But even better? Apple crumble and fruit for breakfast!

Bfast of Champions w watermark

Do you prefer crumble or pie? Have any tips or suggestions for enhancing this recipe? Please share!

Summertime Entertaining Made Easy.

There’s nothing better than sitting outdoors, soaking up the sun, and enjoying the company of friends and family. But actually getting to this moment can often be stressful, particularly if it’s an impromptu gathering. What should I serve?! What do I cook? Do I have time to run to the grocery store? Will everyone get eaten alive by mosquitos?! Aaack! If you’re anything like me, this then leads to a mad dash into the kitchen to desperately scour through the pantry, hoping that supplies are on hand.

Well, fret not my friends! As an extreme worry-wart myself, I’m here to tell you that everything is going to be ok. Really! Just a few simple supplies can transform a humdrum gathering into that perfect summertime soiree.

Garden Party 1 w watermark

Let me start by saying – summertime gatherings needn’t be fancy. This is a time of maxi dresses, flip flops, shorts, and tank tops. Create your entertainment accordingly! Pitchers of ice tea, water, and lemonade, a bucket of beer, and a carafe of wine spritzer should do the trick nicely.

Add to that just a couple more ingredients and you have yourself a party. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Flowers: whether home grown or fresh from the market, flowers add that instant pop of color. Again, you don’t need to get fancy here! Just a few wildflowers in an old tin can or mason jar, a bundle of tulips or sunflowers in a pitcher, or single flowers in a few empty wine bottles. Whatever you have on hand will work!

Craftberry Bush - Summer tablescape with free wild flowers.

Photography: Ashlee Raubach  Interior Design: Nicole Davisflower display

  • Fruit: I don’t know about you, but when I think of summer I can’t help but think of deliciously fresh fruit…peaches, blueberries, strawberries, watermelon – oh my! There’s nothing like biting into a juicy peach on a hot summer day. So be sure to set out bowls overflowing with seasonal fruits. Make a fruit salad. Add fruits to your ice tea and lemonade. Freeze them into your ice cubes. Whip them into a dessert. Do whatever you need to do to get as many fruits on the table as possible! Need some inspiration and a few recipes to get you started..?

Secret Fruit Salad: The secret is dry vanilla pudding mix. It combines with all the juices from the fruit & makes a scrumptious dressing that coats every bite. People will ask you for the recipe it's so good!

Secret Fruit Salad

Sweet Paul's Chocolate Chip Filled Raspberries

Chocolate Filled Raspberries

Raspbery beer cocktail

Strawberry Basil Lemonade Cocktail / Raspberry Beer Cocktail

Ginger Peach Soda

  • Veggies! Like fruit, fresh veggies are another summer must. Keep it simple with a veggie platter and other pop into the mouth options like this:

Tomato, mozzarella, prosciutto, basil

Tomato, Basil, Mozzarella, and Prosciutto

Or, I suppose you can go a little fancier and go for something like this…

layered summer salad - shrimp, avocados, grilled corn, black bean salsa, cucumbers, tomatoes, cheese, & creamy cilantro tomatillo dressing.

Delicious & refreshing!

  • Airflow. Glorious, cool air: not only does a fan keep your guests cool, but it keeps those little buggers away (I mean the bugs, not your friends)! Flies and mosquitos have a hard time flying in high wind so keep the airflow steady and directed at your food.

Vintage Fan

  • Foods fresh from the grill: Need I say more? Here are a couple amazing recipes to try:

Cheddar Jalapeno Chicken Burgers + Guacamole / whats gaby cooking

Cheddar Jalapeno Burgers with Guacamole (toppings make the burger!)

Chipotle chicken kabobs with avocado cream sauce

Chipotle Chicken Kabobs with Avocado Cream Sauce

Grilled Corn with Tequila Lime Butter #recipe

Grilled Corn with Tequila Lime Butter

  • Lighting: if you plan on partying through the night, make sure you have a few lights on hand. Tiki torches, tea candles, lanterns, or just a few lights strung through your trees or over your pergola not only create a dreamy glow, but they allow your patrons to see where they are going!

Poppytalk: Light it Up: Outdoor LanternsOld shutter doors as a backrop, strung with lights = gorgeous!

We need to do this on trees and columns. Just need to figure out electricity

You see? Not too hard is it?! And to make life as stress free as possible, here’s a grab and go checklist for you:

Summertime Entertaining – Grab & Go Checklist:

  • Ice
  • Beer & Wine
  • Vodka, Gin, and/or Tequila for Cocktails
  • Tonic and/or Mineral Water
  • Cooler, Bucket, Wagon, or Barrel for Drinks
  • Pitchers & Glasses
  • Plates & Serving Ware
  • Flowers & Containers
  • Lemons or Pre-made Lemonade
  • Tea Bags for Iced Tea
  • Fruit – blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, peaches, watermelon, and lime (basil & mint to accompany)
  • Veggies – lettuce, cherry tomatoes, avocado, onion, carrots, celery, cucumber, zucchini, squash (basil, mozzarella, prosciutto, shrimp, jalapenos, and/or ranch dressing to accompany)
  • Meat for Grilling (your choice of cheese/toppings to accompany)
  • Corn for Grilling (butter to accompany)
  • A Fan & Extension Cord
  • Tea Candles, Tiki Torches, Lanterns, or String of Lights

Now go forth and party!


It’s one of those days…I’ve been running around like a chicken with out its head (you know I’m country when I start nattering about headless chickens!) so I’m going to make this post short and sweet.

First, I want to thank Kim over at Made in A Day for featuring my sewing table! I come across vintage sewing tables all of the time, so I’m glad I finally put one to good use. Pop on over to Kim’s blog for some fabulous DIY inspiration. I particularly love the Halloween display she recently put together:

Adorably creepy, eh? And quite an easy project for the kids to put together!


Now, if you haven’t already noticed, I’m a bit of a blog addict. I could spend an entire day browsing the inter-webs and would be as happy as a pea in a pod… or, per the Geiko commercials, as happy as a witch in a broom factory! It’s impossible for me to keep up with all the blogs that I come across and fall in love with, but I thought I’d share the love a little bit at a time:

1.  I’m sure many of you are familiar with A Beautiful Mess, but if not, I highly recommend taking a peek! I promise, you will immediately be sucked in. Elsie & Emma, the two sisters that run the blog, are not only gorgeous, but incredibly talented to boot. From their quirky fashion sense to their DIY skills and right on to their amazingly delicious recipes, these girls have it all. I’ll actually be making this dessert tonight!

Baked fruit

Yum, baked peaches and puff pastry apples – delish!!

2.  I came across this NY Mag post via Jess In Belgium (another great blog!) and found myself giggling hysterically. Only recently have I found myself to be a Gossip Girl fan while watching miscellaneous re-runs, but I actually “got” most of the memorable moments!


3.  As mentioned in a previous post, I sometimes struggle to find happiness in daily life. But Amber from The Usual Bliss helps me to put life into perspective and find joy in the little things. Her blog is about everything blissful and I have no doubt that upon reading it, you’ll find yourself a little more blissful as well! Not to mention, you’ll find pictures galore of this guy…


…and how can he not make you smile?

Hope these blogs can make your weekend a little more enjoyable – have a great one my friends!