A Last Hurrah of Summer

So this is a much delayed post…but as you’ll soon learn, it’s been a busy past few weeks for us!  Now how’s that for a cliffhanger?  Unless you’re know us well, then you obviously know what I’m hinting at 🙂


A few weekends ago we spent an afternoon boating on Lake Lanier.  One of our friends found an awesome deal on Groupon for a large group to spend several hours on the water, wake-boarding and just soaking up the last few precious rays of the summer sun.  I do no such thing as wake-board, but I definitely enjoyed the latter.   The weather was perfect with barely a cloud in the sky.  Even though it’ll stay relatively warm in Atlanta for another few weeks, it really was one of our final “hurrah’s” of the summer season.


The following afternoon we spent strolling the streets–literally–around Midtown.  Last May, the city put on an event called Atlanta Streets Alive, closing down Peachtree Street to traffic and letting people walk freely while checking out storefronts and pop-up events.  Drew and I had so much fun last time (climbing a rock wall was involved) that we were excited to find out they were bringing it back again so soon.  The weather was perfect and we spent over 2 hours walking several miles, exploring stores, running into friends and soaking up the sun.  We never doubted how wonderful it is to live in Midtown, right in the heart of everything, but it’s events like this that make me love Atlanta even more.


After spending several hours outside, where the temperature neared 90, we were quite grateful to be back in the AC.  The temperature has been slowly dropping since, and I can’t help but be lulled into the Fall season when my Pinterest feed is being overrun by Halloween decor and the return of Starbucks’ pumpkin spice latte.  So, true to form, I made a breakfast cake that has Fall written all over it.  I want to eat this while sitting on the back of a hay ride, snuggled in a sweater and watching the leaves change colors.  Also, the accompanying frosting is not optional. 


Apple Spice Breakfast Cake with Caramel Frosting
Makes 1 bundt cake or 2 medium-size loaves

For the cake:
1 container vanilla or plain yogurt
3/4 cup apple butter or applesauce
1 large egg
1 Tbs vanilla extract
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 large overripe banana, smashed
1 3/4 cup apples, chopped
1 tsp each of the following spices: cinnamon, allspice, ground ginger, cloves, nutmeg
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda

For the frosting:
1/2 stick butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 Tbs milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease bundt or loaf pans. In a large bowl, stir together yogurt, apple butter or applesauce, egg, vanilla and sugars until combined. Add in banana, apples and spices. Slowly mix in flours and baking soda and stir until just combined, but be careful not to overmix. Pour into pan(s) and bake 40 min. or until inserted knife comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

To make the frosting, melt butter in a small saucepan over medium high heat. Allow to boil for one minute, add in brown sugar, and allow to boil for another 2 minutes while stirring continuously. Remove from heat, stir in milk and vanilla. Sift in powdered sugar, whisking until frosting becomes thick. Allow to thicken about 5-10 minutes before pouring over cooled cake.


Crafting (or just an excuse to go to World Market)

Drew and I spent last Saturday running several errands in the Buckhead area (after our usual breakfast stint at the Piedmont Farmer’s Market, of course).  Driving to Buckhead isn’t something I like to do regularly-even though it’s only 5 miles from our apartment, it can take up to 45 minutes.  I know, I know, can someone queue up the tiny violin?  Obviously I had to be bribed with candy a good reason to make the trip.  A.K.A., a $10 gift certificate to World Market, which can arguably be deemed the second Happiest Place on Earth.

I wouldn’t consider myself a jewelry fanatic, but I do have several pieces that I wear almost all the time.  I can’t remember the last time I walked out our front door without my pearl earrings (morning runs don’t count).  I also have several necklaces that I love, but constantly find them getting tangled in my jewelry box.  What’s the point of having a jewelry box if all the chains are still going to get knotted?  It couldn’t may possibly have something to do with my less-than-diligent storage….

Enter awesome DIY idea.  I’d seen several necklace holders on Pinterest that looked easy enough to create.  All I would need is a piece of wood or plaque, some decorative knobs, and PRESTO! A fabulous necklace holder.  Exactly how the idea would be executed, I wasn’t exactly sure, but I had a feeling it would take a little more skill and expertise than slapping on some Elmer’s glue and hoping for the best.  And that’s another reason why my husband is fantastic.  After picking out a slab of wood from Michael’s and the knobs from World Market, we headed home to put it together.  Actually, I worked on something else while Drew broke out the power drill.  Honestly, I don’t think it was too much of an annoyance to break out his tool box and play handyman for an afternoon.

photo 1

So while I may not be the craft extraordinaire, there is one thing that I can do well: bake.  Wanting to put a dent in the large container of blueberries still taking up residence in our freezer, I whipped up a batch of lemon ginger scones, throwing frozen blueberries into the batter last minute for an added sweetness.  I’d never added ginger to a scone recipe, but it sounded like a good idea at the time.  And thankfully, it was.

photo 3

Lemon Ginger Blueberry Scones

Makes 12 scones

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup chopped crystalized ginger
6 Tbs butter, cold and cut into pieces
1 Tbs lemon zest
juice from one lemon
1 egg
1 cup milk or half-and-half
1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Cut the butter into the flour mixture with a pastry blender or fork. The mixture should look like coarse crumbs. Stir in the diced crystallized ginger, sugar and lemon zest. In a small bowl, mix the egg, lemon juice and milk or half-and-half. Add the wet mixture to the flour mixture and stir just until the dough comes together. Do not over mix the dough. Pour in the blueberries.

Drop the scones onto a lightly greased baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes or until scones are lightly browned on top. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack or parchment paper to finish cooling completely.

Recipe: Blueberry Bread Pudding

blue donkey iced coffee

Apparently it wasn’t in the cards for me to sleep in this morning.  Not that I really mind, as I’ve had plenty of quality time with the couch this week trying to get over being sick.  Still, it would have been nice to sleep in past 7:30, but the garbage trucks outside and a whiny Theo at the foot of the bed were not having it.  Feeling more energized than I had all week, I headed over to Piedmont Park for my regular stroll through the farmers’ market.  The last time I went was with Drew when we celebrated our awesome 5K times with coffees and breakfast paninis, but I just couldn’t bring myself to have one without him.  The panini, that is.  Of course I got my iced almond coffee.

With my iced coffee fix satisfied, I headed back home to start tapping into the huge supply of blueberries that’s now taking up almost a third half of our freezer.  Since picking them with Mom last week, I’ve been trying to figure out the perfect ways to use them.  So far I’ve just eaten them overtop yogurt or cereal, but this morning I finally decided to bake with them.  The results?  A baked blueberry bread pudding, from scratch.  That’s right, no recipe was followed.  I have no problem doing this when I cook, but baking can be an entirely different animal if you don’t use the right ingredient amounts, follow the directions in the correct order, etc.  I’m proud to say it was a delicious success.

While talking to Mom on the phone this afternoon, I told her about it and was able to repeat the recipe quite easily.  I also wanted to post it here to share it with her again and for anyone else who has a gazillion blueberries on their hands that they don’t now what to do with.  The recipe can easily be doubled or tripled to feed a group as part of an awesome brunch!

blueberry bread pudding

Blueberry Bread Pudding, Serves 1
2 slices of French bread
1 egg
1/2 cup milk or heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp each cinnamon, ground cloves, nutmeg
handful of blueberries, fresh or frozen

Preheat oven to 350F. In a small bowl, whisk together egg and milk or heavy cream.  Add vanilla extract and spices.  Chop bread into cubed pieces and layer into the bottom of a small baking dish.  Sprinkle blueberries on top and pour egg mixture over everything until the bread is evenly saturated.  Bake for 25-30 minutes or until blueberries and bubbling and bread is slightly browned.