Fall Foodie: Maple Candied Bacon

Fall Foodie: Maple Candied Bacon

Good Morning and Happy Monday, everyone!

Every once in a while, when my schedule is particularly packed and I’m busier than usual- I like to simplify things so I don’t get overwhelmed. So, when it came time to whip something up for a pre-bachelorette-party-brunch this past Saturday- I opted to keep things super quick and easy- while still maintaining fun, seasonal flavors that everyone would enjoy.

You won’t find many people who will disagree that bacon- which goes with any meal during the day- makes every dish better. But, to keep up with the Fall flare I try to showcase this time of year- I thought I’d incorporate a little maple and brown sugar to keep brunch as Autumnal as possible.

This dish calls for four ingredients and takes little to no time at all to prepare and cook. Seriously- how much better can that get?

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

  • 1 pound thick-cut bacon
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • Coarsely ground black pepper

READY? HERE’S WHAT YOU DO:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and top with a roasting rack. Lightly spritz the rack with nonstick spray. Lay the bacon on the rack, leaving just a tiny bit of room between each piece.
  2. Brush the bacon with the maple syrup and then sprinkle with the brown sugar. Top with a generous sprinkling of pepper.
  3. Bake until the sugar is melted and the bacon is crisp, 15 to 17 minutes (or a little longer if you like it extra crispy). Let the bacon cool for 5 minutes before removing it from the rack and serving.

I love maple-flavored anything, so I drizzled a bit more syrup on top of the bacon when it was finished cooking and added a dash more pepper- and it tasted fantastic! It went fast, in-between mimosas and Bloody Mary’s- so I know I can make it again the next time my friends and I all get together and there won’t be any complaints.

I’ll be re-capping my weekend and all the craziness that came with it a little later on this week- and I’ve also got some more Halloween-appropriate pieces from my wardrobe to share before I head off to Vermont this coming weekend- but I’ve got to get some work done at the office, first!

Here’s wishing you all a wonderful Monday and a stress-free start to your week!

xx

– Ashley –

Fall Foodie: Mini Shepherd’s Pot Pies

Fall Foodie: Mini Shepherd’s Pot Pies

Good Morning and Happy Friday, everyone! We made it to the end of another week!

This coming weekend- kicking off when I leave work a little later on this afternoon- is sure to be a busy one. I’ve got to make an appearance at local horror movie convention tonight, possibly swing by a midnight screening of ‘IT’ (the Tim Curry version!) in the middle of the woods- yes, really- and prepare for a weekend in the city with friends when we all get together for our bride-to-be-BFF’s bachelorette party before she ties the knot in a few weeks!

But before I start racing around and more than likely tripping over myself- I wanted to share a pretty great recipe I found via PUREWOW earlier this week. If you’re a meat and potatoes type of person- this may be right up your alley, but if you’re a meat and potatoes AND mini versions of food enthusiast- then you’re going to love this and want to whip a batch of these up immediately!

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

  • 1 package refrigerated piecrust (2 x 9″ inch pie crusts)
  • ½ lb. lean ground beef
  • 1 (1 oz.) envelope onion soup mix
  • 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
  • ¾ cup beef broth
  • 1 cup frozen vegetables (corn, peas and carrot blend)
  • 1 package Bob Evans Classic Mashed Potatoes

READY? HERE’S WHAT YOU DO:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Unroll both piecrusts and use a 3” circle cookie cutter (or small round bowl) to cut out 12 circles (re-roll scraps of dough to get remaining circles). Line each cup of a 12-cavity muffin tin with the pie dough and bake for 8 to 9 minutes, or until lightly browned.
  2. Meanwhile, brown the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until cooked and crumbled. Stir in the onion soup mix and 1 tablespoon of flour and cook for 1 minute. Pour in the beef broth, scraping any browned bits from the bottom of the skillet and then add in the frozen vegetable mix. Continue cooking and stirring for an additional 2 to 3 minutes until the liquid has thickened and the veggies are mostly heated through.
  3. Scoop ¼ cup of the meat mixture into the piecrusts, then top each mini pie with 2 tablespoons of Bob Evans Classic Mashed Potatoes.
  4. Continue baking for an additional 20 to 25 minutes, till the piecrusts are golden brown. Turn on the top broiler for the last 2 minutes to lightly brown the mashed potatoes if desired. Run a butter knife around the edge of the mini pies to gently remove and serve warm.

If I had to make one criticism for these otherwise delicious pies- it’s that you may want to consider going a little easy with the onion soup mix. One full package left these pies tasting very strongly. It wasn’t terrible by any means, since I do like onion- but it may not be for everyone and if you’re serving these to guests- you’re going to want to be sensitive to their taste buds.

That aside, I loved these pies! They were warm, flavorful and filling- the perfect treat to end a rainy, brisk Autumn day. I can’t wait to make more!

But for now, I’ve got to get some work done and then hit the ground running come 4:30 PM. Here’s wishing you all a wonderful and safe weekend. I’ll be back on Monday!

xx

– Ashley –

Hello, Pumpkin…

Hello, Pumpkin…

Good Morning and Happy “Hump Day”, everyone!

It’s a short work week for me, which is nice- since I’ve got a busy weekend ahead to prepare for (including my hometown’s annual horror convention, my friend’s bachelorette party- and decorating for Halloween!) But the extra day off this past Monday has also given me the opportunity to spend more time outdoors in this lovely and brisk New England Fall weather.

This past three-day weekend was filled with scenic drives, stops at local farms and pumpkin patches, walks through the woods (some of which required umbrellas for unexpected rain!) and plenty of photo ops along the way. The foliage may not have quite reached maximum Autumnal potential just yet- but it’s quickly getting there as the days go on! I’m sure I’ll have the obligatory “rolling in the leaves” pics up on my social media soon enough (I’m not sorry, by the way. I love those!)

What made these past couple of days so special, of course- was that they were spent in the company of my family. I work a lot, and my ten year old niece is in school- so being able to take an afternoon together to sip coffee (and cocoa) and help her find the perfect pumpkin for her front porch, pet goats at the farmer’s market, and grab lunch with her and my mom was the ideal way to spend an October afternoon. Best of all? Oliver came too- and he was the most curious, cuddly, well-behaved pup imaginable!

Below are some of my favorite photos I snapped along the way. Feel free to click to enlarge them!

The rest of this week, leading up to Friday night, at least- will be mostly spent indoors between my office and home (or at the movie theater, since I’m seeing ‘Venom’ with friends from work tonight!) but it’s going to be so nice to be back outdoors in just a few short days! Bring on the rain and the chilly air. I’m here for it and I’ve got my boots ready to wear for the occasion!

But I’ve got to get some work done today before I get head out on the town to stuff my face with popcorn and watch Tom Hardy in IMAX. It’s the only way to watch Tom Hardy, really.

Here’s wishing you all a wonderful Wednesday and an easy, stress-free transition from your work week into Friday. I’ll have a recipe waiting for you when you get there!

xx

– Ashley –

OOTD: Lizzie Borden Took an Ax…

Good Morning and Happy Monday, everyone!

Although today marks a holiday I don’t necessarily believe in celebrating- my office is still closed and I still have to make the best of having a Monday off. My plans today include apple/pumpkin picking with my mother and my niece out in rural Massachusetts, peeping some foliage, and enjoying a lunch outdoors in the beautiful splendor of Autumnal New England!

This time of year, I like to highlight some of the “spookier” pieces in my wardrobe- from Wednesday Addams-inspired tops, dresses with bloody hand prints all over them, and stockings designed to look simply skeletal. It’s a really fun time for fashion in October- and that also includes some unique jewelry, too!

I’m very fortunate in that I have friends and family who understand and encourage my love of all things horror/macabre- so they haven’t blinked twice when I started showing up to get-togethers in recent days with this large Lizzie Borden pendant necklace I had picked up during a Winter visit to her family’s home (now a museum) a couple of years ago! To them, it’s perfectly normal.

Apart from the large brooch featuring Lizzie’s portrait, the necklace also includes a cheeky sterling silver ax/hatchet charm that is noticeable to those who take a long enough glance.

I typically don’t wear this necklace with anything fancy or flashy since it’s big and attention-grabbing enough on it’s own- but it’s a nice addition to my usual October daytime ensembles which consist of (mostly) all black tops, jeans and boots. I aim to look like a vampire as much as possible through Halloween, really.

The necklace is available at the Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast website (and the inn itself is a pretty fascinating visit if you ever find yourself in Fall River!) which also has a bunch of other really interesting and morbid souvenirs available for purchase. I mean, who wouldn’t want a magnet with crime scene photos of Mr. & Mrs. Borden’s bodies on their refrigerator, right? Definitely a conversation piece for sure.

I have even more oddities to share in the coming weeks, but a local legend seemed like a good place to start when diving into the “Halloween Corner” of my closet!

I’m off to grab coffee and doughnuts (it’s a cheat day!) with my family before we head off to our fun-filled Fall day together. I’ll have plenty of pics to post later on this week- and on Friday I’ve got a pretty quick and easy take on a classic recipe to share with everyone!

Here’s hoping you all have a terrific Monday- and if you’ve got it off from work- make the most of it!

xx

– Ashley –

OOTD: Plaid, Interrupted

Good Morning and Happy Friday, everyone! We made it to another (long!) weekend!

I’m getting ready to stop by the Indie617 studio to sit down and do a guest spot during their “Morning Glory” show/A.M. block. I’ll be talking new releases, upcoming shows, the 15 year anniversary of ‘Mr. Brightside’ and so much more! You can tune in at the station’s official website or through their App (free for iPhone and Android!) I’m really excited- and I hope my voice doesn’t sound *too* scratchy on-air. I’m not exactly a morning person.

But before I get to it and then head off to work and my plans for this weekend afterwards- I wanted to share one of my favorite pieces for the Summer-to-Fall weather transition we’re presently nearing the end of here in New England. While this may look like a simple knit navy blue sweater pulled on over a red and white plaid shirt- it’s actually a one piece top I picked up at Primark- and also happens to be one of the most comfortable and warm tops I’ve ever worn!

I called on this shirt and a simple pair of denim jeggings and brown, knee-high boots on Monday night to look chic and stay warm during an evening outing to the Bramble Hill Farm in Amherst. Troy had invited me out to watch his dress rehearsal performance in ‘Refugee’, a play he and his cast mates are taking to the Joakim International Theater Festival in Kragujevac, Serbia next week. The rehearsal, within a barn-turned-performance-space on the farm, tends to get chilly at night- but not wanting to load on layers- I knew this sweater/shirt hybrid would be perfect.

And I like attention to detail in my wardrobe, so the perfectly stitched collar and the buttons along the bottom part of the red and white “flannel” part are a cute touch.

A swipe of my matte brown NYX lip gloss and some neutral eye shadow and I was ready to go while looking very Autumn-esque! I also recently got my nails touched up and changed the color from a chocolate brown to a lovely burnt orange shade because, you know- Halloween Queen and all.

I was super cozy and comfortable throughout the hour and forty-five minute performance- which meant I really got to take it all in and enjoy it without distraction. It was brilliant and moving (I definitely teared up at a couple of parts!) I’m so proud of everyone involved and I can’t wait to hear all about the trip after they get back next weekend.

But I’m going to get radio ready and pumped up! I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. Despite Monday being a holiday and my having the day off from work- I’ll still be posting some content bright and early!

xx

– Ashley –