Friday, November 29, 2013

Friday Photo #5

Friday, November 29, 2013
Happy Day-After-Thanksgiving! Many people refer to this as "Black Friday," but to be honest, I've never been one to jump on those black Friday deals. The idea of setting an alarm clock to get up before the crack of dawn on one of my few days off, to stand in line in the cold, to hopefully score some "deal" just isn't appealing. I would rather spend the morning continuing to digest my tasty turkey dinner from the night before. And decorating for Christmas, of course.

For the next few Fridays, my Friday Photo posts will be some of my favorites about Christmas. Today, think about the smells of Christmas. I love the smell of needles on Christmas Trees. My family has a tradition of going up to the mountains to cut down a tree. Tromping around the forest, looking for the perfect 13 foot noble fir is quite the adventure. 

And the whole time, we're surrounded by that fresh tree smell. I find my self taking a deep breath just thinking about it.

What are your favorite smells of Christmas?

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Fall Foliage

Tuesday, November 26, 2013
We're definitely taking advantage of fall this year in Albany since it is likely our last year living here. Fortunately, we've been blessed with an absolutely gorgeous fall season!

I'm doing my best to capture the feel of the season through photography.

Autumn really is a fantastic season to photograph. Nature looks different every single day!

I'm not especially looking forward to winter, but I am excited for more adventures and photography... let's just hope it waits until January to start snowing! I've got quite a few flights around the country in these next few months and snow delays are not my favorite.

Linking up at

Friday, November 22, 2013

Friday Photo #4

Friday, November 22, 2013
Another week has gone by and I can't believe Thanksgiving is next Thursday!

This week's Friday photo is really a few photos combined. Just over a year ago, my lovely sister-in-law, Betsy, came to visit. She is the best. We took a trip to Vermont and had tons of fun exploring and playing in the fall leaves. 

I love that in addition to my own two sisters, I gained this amazing lady as a sister when I married my husband over 5 years ago. 

As we approach Thanksgiving, I am thankful for the ladies in my life who mean the world to me, and I am so blessed to have the three best sisters ever!

Who are you thankful for today?

Friday, November 15, 2013

Friday Photo #3

Friday, November 15, 2013
Happy Friday!

I'm still in California for pediatric residency interviews. I'm enjoying it so far! There are some great places to take photos as well, which I will share at some point.

Today's photo is from this past summer in Idaho. Being warm in the California sun reminds me of my favorite place on earth: Priest Lake.

It's my favorite place because of all the memories. So many amazing adventures, scrumptious meals, family "cabin improvement" projects, and love abounding. 

Where is your favorite place?

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Apple Adventures | Part 2: The Apple Sauce

Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Hello and Happy Wednesday! 

I'm on my way to California for a few more pediatric residency interviews. I'm so looking forward to getting warm in the California sun, catching up with some old friends, and learning more about the fantastic pediatric programs!

This is the second post of three in my Apple Adventures trilogy. See Part 1 here.

I have never made apple sauce before, and for some reason, I assumed it was a difficult process. I was wrong. All it took was an apple peeler, a crock pot, some cinnamon & nutmeg, a tiny bit of brown sugar and water, and a whisk/blender. 

Oh, and some patience as the apartment starts smelling like heaven.

It turns out, making apple sauce is sort of like making mashed potatoes. A med school friend said he just "cooked down the apples in minimal water then added brown sugar and a little bit of cinnamon to taste." I figured I could handle that. 

In case you, too, would like to enjoy the thrill of making your own apple sauce, here's what I did:

  1. Peel and core several apples (I used about 8)
  2. Cut apples into chunks (they don't need to be tiny - maybe about 1-2 inch cubes or so)
  3. Place apple chunks into a crock pot. Add about 1/3 cup water
  4. Add about a teaspoon of cinnamon and half a teaspoon of nutmeg (Add more or less depending on your taste preferences)
  5. Stir in 1-2 tablespoons of brown sugar depending on the tartness of your apples and how sweet you like your apple sauce
  6. Turn the crock pot on to high, cover with the lid. I suggest checking on it after about an hour to see if you need to add more water or if you want to mash up some of the apple chunks. Continue to let cook until you are satisfied with the softness of your apples.
  7. Let cool and mash the apples with a fork or whisk. If you want really smooth apple sauce, you can put the cooled mixture into a blender and blend until smooth, which really only takes a couple of pulses. (Trust me, any more than a couple of pulses and you will end up with baby food. Which is perfectly acceptable if that's what you were going for.)

There really was no actual recipe that I used - it was mostly just taste-testing. I just tasted the sauce as I went and added some more cinnamon or nutmeg as needed. I also put a sprinkle of cinnamon on top right before I ate it. 


That's one more item off our Bucket List!

During our Apple Picking Adventure, we ended up with quite a few apples, so I made apple sauce, apple pie, and pork tenderloin with apples. It turns out there are a ton of apple recipes. Do you have any amazing recipes to share?

Linking up at

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Apple Adventures | Part 1: The Orchard

Saturday, November 9, 2013
If you live in upstate NY, there is really no way to get through autumn without apples consuming at least part of the season. We've been apple picking before, but I had two items on my bucket list to accomplish this year: making apple sauce and baking an apple pie from scratch. I'm happy to report that both were a success! This is the first of three posts detailing our apple adventures this year. 

It started with a trip to one of the local apple orchards.

On a lovely fall morning, the hubby and I headed to a local apple farm to do some picking. And eating, of course. We started the day off with the tastiest apple cider donut. That alone should be on everyone's bucket list.

We wandered through the orchard, choosing our trees very carefully.


Before committing to filling our bag, we taste-tested to confirm that the apples were indeed worthy of being consumed in their purest form.

(As you might expect, all apples tasted were delicious.)

The air had a perfect "it's definitely fall" crispness to it, but we were still comfortable going without jackets.

Have you been on any fall adventures this year?

Linking up at

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