Helen, Georgia

For part of the long weekend, Chuck and I celebrated Oktoberfest in Helen, Georgia – a Bavarian-style “alpine” village nestled in the Appalachians. It was not quite what I expected and was a total tourist trap, but we still had a great time. I went all out and drank more beer than I’ve ever drunk in my life. I rarely get tipsy anymore, so it was fun 🙂 It was nice to do something a little different.

Now I’m hoping for a productive week before skipping town again for the next two weekends: Charleston to Brooklyn to Tallahassee. Two weeks from today, I am going to be pooped… but full of great memories!

I love front porches…

  • Summer: Sit on the grass with lemonade.
  • Autumn: Sit on the porch with apple cider.
  • Winter: Sit by the fireplace with hot chocolate.
  • Spring: Sit on the porch with sweet tea.

Sunday afternoon walk in Holly Ridge. Looks like a place Bonni and I would have explored when we were little! We would have ridden our bikes and made our own fort and civilization. Oh, to be a kid again!

Culinary Delight #9: Apple Cider Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Buttercream Frosting

These were pretty much to die for. Perfect for fall. Chuck got that eyes-rolled-back-in-the-head look when he tried them. I served them at our Halloween bash in all sorts of cheesy creepy embellishments, so I’m including the internet photo from which I got the recipe. 🙂             

For the cupcakes:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 2/3 cup flour
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

For the frosting:

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1/2 bag Kraft caramels, melted with 2 tbsp. water
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1-2 tbsp. milk for thinning, if necessary
Instructions:
 
Mix all ingredients for the cupcakes together in a large bowl. Fill the cupcake liners 2/3 full and bake at 350 for 19 minutes.
For frosting, cream together the butter and shortening. Add the powdered sugar and the caramel alternately (add the salt in with the caramel.) Add milk by the tablespoon as needed for thinning. I pretty much used Chuck as a taste-tester to gauge how much caramel vs. milk vs. powdered sugar I needed. He was happy to oblige!

November Strikes

I feel ridiculous complaining about temperatures in the sixties (just bear with me please), but ever since Sandy swept through, I canNOT get warm unless I’m in a steaming hot shower or buried under a heap of blankets!! Lows in the 30s, highs in the low 60s, with no end in sight… I’m all wrapped up in my warmest clothes, ate and drank a hot breakfast, but I’m still all hunched up. Of course, it’s way too early to turn on the heat, so I’m just gonna suck it up as long as I can.

Really though, this is such a stark contrast to last fall/winter here in NC, which was incredibly mild and beautiful. I swear it didn’t get this “chilly” until January. Sigh. I want my moderate beach climate back! I guess we’ll see what happens after this front runs through? I sure hope it’s not here to stay.

In other news, yesterday was my last shift EVER at the pharmacy. I was feeling a little sad at first. After all, they’ve been very flexible with me, and everyone is so nice and overwhelmed… until I got paged while peeing. Seriously, I’m so excited to return to a work environment where I won’t feel guilty for all hell breaking loose because I took a quick bathroom break after several hours of holding it.

Today I go in to the Chamber for some more training. One of their biggest events of the year also happens to be tonight, so I’ll be staying late to participate and observe their Annual Coasta Roasta Oyster Roast! All you can eat shrimp and oysters, open bar, and live music on the river. I have a feeling I’m going to like this job 🙂

Apple & Brown Sugar Soy Chicken

Fall dinner. Apple and brown sugar soy chicken from the crockpot. Apple crisp for dessert. All courtesy of the millions of apples we picked in Charlottesville the other week! The house smells decadent 🙂

The meal itself was super easy to make. Chicken breasts. 1 cup of apple juice. A few tablespoons of lemon juice. 1/2 cup soy sauce. 1/2 cup brown sugar (or to taste.) Toss in a few apple slices, if you have them. Cook on low in the crockpot for 6-8 hours. Serve over rice!

The apple crisp was good but not worth sharing yet – I have a better recipe Ill try later!

(Taken with Instagram)

It’s a gorgeous 75 degrees and sunny right now in jolly Holly Ridge. The windows are open and there is a light breeze. There are lovely golden and berry hues on my table, keeping me company while I catch up on some job apps and clean the house. I’m heading to work for a few hours, but maybe I can catch an early evening walk afterwards. Love this kind of weather!

(Taken with Instagram)