Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Easy Traditional Apple Strudel Recipe - German Apfelstrudel

Last week during our Oktoberfest party I made apple strudel for the first time! I looked far and wide for an authentic German/Austrian apfelstrudel recipe. I felt like this recipe was really authentic! It was also really pretty easy to make - because I cheated and used frozen puff pastry dough as my strudel dough.  Making strudel dough from scratch is labor intensive. 
Easy Traditional Apple Strudel  - Printable recipe here
makes 2 loaves, serving 10-14 people
  • 2 tablespoons apple juice or golden rum
  • 3 tablespoons raisins
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon (80 g) granulated sugar
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted. 
  • 5 tbsp unsalted butter, melted, for brushing
  • 1 1/2 cups bread crumbs
  • 2 sheets puff pastry, thawed
  • 1/2 cup (60 g) coarsely chopped walnuts
  • 2 pounds (900 g) tart cooking apples, peeled, cored and cut into ¼ inch thick slices (recommend granny smith and honey crisp varieties)
  • powdered sugar, for dusting
  • 1 egg with 1 tbsp water, for egg wash

  1. Mix the apple juice or rum in a bowl with the raisins and set aside.
  2. In another bowl, mix together the sugar and cinnamon, set aside.
  3. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt 3 tbsp of butter in the skillet. Then add the breadcrumbs. Stir constantly until golden and toasted. Takes approximately 3 minutes. Let cool completely.
  4. While bread crumbs are cooling, chop up the apples. 
  5. With a rolling pin, roll out each piece of thawed puff pastry dough on a floured surface to approximately 10x12 inches. You will be making 2 logs of strudel total. 
  6. Preheat the oven to 375F. 
  7. With the remaining melted butter, brush the melted butter over the entire pastry dough. Then, sprinkle the cooled toasted bread crumbs over the entire buttered puff pastry sheet in a thin layer. Repeat for second dough sheet.
  8. Spread half of the walnuts in a line about 3 inches back from the edge of the dough. Repeat with other pastry dough sheet.
  9. Now add the cinnamon sugar mixture, and raisin mixture to the cut apples. Stir together. Now you will immediately spread half of the apple mixture over the walnuts in a line. Repeat for the second strudel dough. NOTE: make sure your apple mixture doesn’t have any liquid in it when you pour it over the strudel. If you leave the apples with the sugar for a while, they will ooze out liquid. The liquid will make it harder to roll the strudel. 
  10. Now, slowly roll the dough lifting the front side to first cover the apples. Roll until it is a log shape. The seam side should be on the bottom of the log. Tuck the two ends of the log under the strudel by pinching the dough together.
  11. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or silpat, seam side down.
  12. Brush with the egg wash.
  13. Make several cuts across the top to allow the steam to escape.
  14. Bake at 375F for 40-45 minutes, until crust is golden brown.
  15. One cool, dust with powdered sugar and serve. Serve with whipped cream, vanilla ice cream, or homemade cinnamon ice cream (recipe click here)! It is best served warm on the first day of baking!
Below are the two strudels getting ready to go into the oven!
43 minutes later.... voila! It is now a nicely golden brown in color! Smells amazing, too!
Once the strudel has cooled to when it is slightly warm, sprinkle powdered sugar on top!
I like to eat mine with ice cream!
I thought this recipe tasted exactly like the strudel I ate in Germany. Which means.. it isn't overly sweet. If you love sweet desserts, I would recommend adding a bit more sugar to it. Traditional strudel isn't super sweet like American apple pie. Or, you could always just sprinkle more powdered sugar on top. I think serving it with whipped cream or ice cream is essential. Also, it tastes better served warm. If your strudel cooled down to room temp, I would recommend just heating it up either in the oven or microwave.

Recipe from

Monday, September 28, 2015

Decorating with Owls for Fall

Hoot-Hoot! Tweet-Tweet! The owls have landed this year in the large island in the kitchen! Aside from my velvet pumpkins, I think my owls are my next favorite Fall decoration! I always look forward to pulling them out of storage. 
The lighting in the kitchen isn't very good - yellow tones from overhead lights. Oh well. I guess it puts a "sunset" color on them, right? I have my MK childs candlesticks and tray in the background which I think provides a nice contrast against all of the brown! My family hates this brown granite - it is just so boring to stare at, but I will say I think it goes nicely with the Fall colors!
 The squirrel was new last year, as were the mini owl and acorn candles!
The brownstone pitcher and brown staffordshire dog are hiding behind the owls.  I like the candle on the right as it reminds me of a pumpkin! 
New this year are these little owl ornaments - actually used for Christmas last year on the tree... but then I thought, wouldn't they look cute nestled in the acorn wreath?? I think so!

Stay tuned in this week, I've got a new recipe that you can use with those deliciously crisp apples you picked (or will go pick, right?? Pick of the tree, pick out of a bin, pick out in the store...)

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Friday, September 25, 2015

The Pumpkin Batch Review - a Monthly Pumpkin Themed Subscription Box!!

Ok pumpkin lovers... I have news for you. We all know there's monthly subscription boxes for everyone, I think everyone is familiar with birch box... but guess what? There is a new monthly subscription box called "The Pumpkin Batch". Yes. It is a monthly box full of all pumpkin themed items!! If you are pumpkin lover you will most likely love this! Oh, PS, they did NOT pay me to write this review. FYI. I just, um, love pumpkins.
This is replacing my usual Friday Favorites post... because the whole box is a FAVORITE and it deserves a post on its own!  I received my box this week and I was soooo excited! #omg. 
*Squeal!* Pumpkin season is here! Wahoo! Now, if only it would COOL DOWN outside so I can put on a sweater and grab a big wool throw to tuck myself into. 
 Oh goody! Look at all of this wonderful stuff hiding inside this cute little box! Let's take a closer look...
Oh my! So, let's go over what was in the box:

1. #pumpkin mug - If you like pumpkin everything, you'll like this mug. For me personally, I don't like having a bunch of random mugs in my kitchen. I like them all to be the same.
2. Pumpkin Spice Coffee - 12 cup pouch. Yum yum. Be nice and brew it for the office!
3. Pumpkin Maple Scone - WHAT? They sent a freshly baked scone in this? Yes. Not cool to send just one. I need like 8. #notafatty #ilikecarbs
4. Pumpkin Spice Latte Candle - burning it right now. It smells pretty good. It's a little sweet smelling for my usual candle smell preferences, but that's okay. Still smells good!
5. Pumpkin Dark Chocolate Minute Muffin - see the thing with the bear on it? It's a microwavable minute muffin! An instant pumpkin muffin for one! Love it. Haven't tried it yet though. It needs to get COLD out please before I eat this.
6. Pumpkin Ornament- See the sweet little sign that says "carve pumpkins, etc."? That's a cute little ornament. I've already hung it up.
7. Pumpkin Spice Caramels- I instantly ate one of these when I opened the box. UM WHOA. They were so good I can't believe they only sent this little tiny package of them. I NEED more. Then on the back of their pamphlet, they have a recipe for pumpkin spice caramel apples... so you take the pumpkin spice caramel they sent and melt it and dip apples in it! So, shall I continue to eat the caramels or hold off and make pumpkin caramel apples? What do you think?

All and all, I'm pretty happy with this box! It was $35 for 1 month; they have better prices per box with the more months you buy. I think $35 is a little steep for what is in this box, but I think it was worth it at least once.  It was worth the anticipation and excitement, plus those caramels are delicious. You can order your own Pumpkin Batch Subscription Box here.

Friday Favorites with A Little Bit of EverythingFive on friday at A Liz Adventures .Friday Favorites at the Diary of a Real HousewiveOh Hey, Friday! at September FARM

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Oktoberfest Party Decorations - a Table Setting Idea

This past weekend I had some family over and we had an Oktoberfest party! For the party, I set up this pretty Oktoberfest table! 
Hanging from the chandelier are printouts of Lebkuchen hearts you see everywhere in Bavaria - especially during Oktoberfest time! I simply took the ones from last year and glued them to some cardboard. I then punched a hole in the center and hung them with string! You can print out your own here through my Oktoberfest 2014 table: Oktoberfest 2014 table
I found the printed plates and napkins at Cost plus. The napkin rings are vintage Erzgebirge from Germany that were found on eBay. Aren't they cute? They are holding plates from the harvest.
For the placemats, I made my own. I couldn't find any Bavarian looking placemats anywhere! And when I found German placemats, they were black, red, and yellow which are the colors of the German flag. Oktoberfest colors are blue and white - representing Bavaria. 

Making them was pretty simple. I used a previous placemat to get the right size. Then added some flannel to the back make it thick. The fabric was a bright blue picnic table fabric!

To finish them, the white ribbon was later sewn around the edges.
A closer look at the individual table settings...
One last look! I just love the hearts hanging from the chandelier!

Oktoberfest runs for 2 weeks so you still have time to have a little party! I suggest making these authentic German pretzels: German pretzel recipe.  You can see my Oktoberfest table from last year. Also, I have some great Oktoberfest party ideas here. And if you don't know what to wear, don't worry, I've got you covered with my Oktoberfest style guide.

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Monday, September 21, 2015

What to Wear to the Oktoberfest

I thought with Oktoberfest starting this pack weekend in Germany, some of you may be wondering... What do I wear to the Oktoberfest?! Well, don't worry. I've got you covered with my guide.  The Oktoberfest runs for two whole weeks, so you still have time to get your party gear on! My guide is broken down into women's (Damen) and men's (Herrn) fashions. Let's start with the Damen.
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The most obvious choice would be to wear a dirndl (the name of the type of dress below).  The dirndl comes in three basic lengths: long, midi, and mini!  I chose the long dress because it was cold when I was in Germany during Oktoberfest.  What I do recommend avoiding though, is the super short ones that people wear as Halloween costumes. You know which ones I'm talking about. They're too short, slutty, and tacky. Dirndls range in price from 80 dollars to 500 dollars. There is a wide variety of quality. If you choose to buy yours in Germany, there are *tons* of shops over there that sell them just for tourists.  Mine cost around 200 dollars. There are also a ton of websites online that sell them. I think it is way more fun to go into a store and have a fashion show!
What to Wear to the Oktoberfest

Friday, September 18, 2015

Pumpkin Week Link Party 2015

As the big finale to Pumpkin Week 2015... we are ending in a big link party!  Link up all of your pumpkin themed posts here! I am so excited to see what you all have to share!!!
I will be pinning EVERY SINGLE LINK to my "All Things Pumpkin" Pinterest board... meaning more social media exposure for you and your blog!  

  • Link must be pumpkin-themed 
  • By linking up you are agreeing that the photos are yours or that you have permission to use them and that I may use the photos to feature your project on a blog post and social networks. It will always include a link back to your blog.
  • Please go to the source of a photo to pin it to Pinterest - common Pinning etiquette!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Stylish Pumpkin Table Settings

You didn't expect TWO posts in a day, did you?? Oh, you see, I told you I LOVE pumpkins. Like really love pumpkins.  As a bonus post, I rounded up a bunch of pretty pumpkin table settings! Enjoy this feast for your eyes... 
Williams Sonoma
Thoughts from Alice
Martha Stewart

724 South House 
Miss Mustard Seed
Peonies & Orange Blossoms
The Lettered Cottage
Shindig Parties to Go
Better homes & Gardens
Holly Mathis Interiors 
Colin Cowie Weddings
Home is Where the Boat is
Okay, don't forget, tomorrow is the last day of Pumpkin Week! We're ending with a link party, so prep your favorite pumpkin posts and link away! 
I'll be pinning everything to my pumpkin board on Pinterest. I'm so excited to see what pumpkin-themed things you all have to share!!

Pumpkin Spice Bread Recipe

I'm back with another pumpkin recipe this week! Pumpkin bread. I realized I rather like to eat pumpkins.
This post may contain affiliate links. See my disclosure policy.

I'll admit, this is kind of a "cheater" recipe. BUT it's seriously the best pumpkin bread I've ever had.
pumpkin spice bread recipe
Why is this a "cheater" recipe? Well... *looks around*... I used a mix. Shh! Don't tell my family and friends! They all love this bread! But yes, I've been using this mix for years! It's from Williams-Sonoma. Every year I buy two mixes total as a splurge... I don't drink alcohol, so it's like the price of a fancy cocktail! (See how you can justify buying nice things by cutting other things out?)
What I like about this pumpkin bread mix is that it has more spice in it than other pumpkin breads. I guess if you read the mix though, it is called a pumpkin SPICE bread. I think it has a really nice flavor.  You could bake it in this cute bread pan.  You could also buy it was the pumpkin butter as it is super good with the pumpkin butter... bread mix and pecan pumpkin butter.  Here is the gluten-free version of the bread mix!

Pumpkin Spice Bread Recipe
makes 1 loaf
  • 1 bag Pumpkin Spice Bread Mix from Williams Sonoma (get it here)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 2 eggs
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. 
  2. Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl
  3. Pour into a greased bread pan
  4. Bake for 55-65 minutes, or until sticking a fork on the top comes out dry
  5. Let cool on rack for 15 minutes, then enjoy!
I like eating mine with my homemade pumpkin spice latte or with a homemade cinnamon dolce latte! So, go ahead, make your own pumpkin spice latte (recipe here) this week and use the money saved on your $12 bread mix. See how we saved money for this splurge??
pumpkin spice bread recipe

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Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Pumpkin Spice Macaron Recipe

If you are a usual follower on my blog, then you'll know that I love to bake (and eat) macarons.  If you are just arriving here for pumpkin week, I'll explain my love for macarons: I discovered that I needed to learn how to bake these treats when I found out the cost of them in the store - normally about $2 each. When you love macarons like I do, it can be quite the costly investment to satiate your hunger for them!
This post may contain affiliate links. See my disclosure policy.
pumpkin spice macarons

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

10 Ideas for Decorating with Pumpkins

Pumpkin week continues with 10 decorating ideas with pumpkins.  For these 10 decorating ideas, only REAL pumpkins were used.  I like real pumpkins as I find the plastic ones often look, well, plastic. But, there are some nice plastic ones if you keep your eye out for them. The other thing is that once Fall is over we throw them in the compost pile and don't have to store them in our house!

1. Stack 'em up!
I just love this look! You need 3 different size pumpkins. They will need to be of the flatter variety so you can stack them up! You can imagine the round jack o' lanterns won't work because they are too round. You could do all white, all red-orange, all blue, or mix it up! I added some faux Fall foliage to the bottom and stacked them on top of the anduze vase!
Ideas for decorating with pumpkins
2. Put them inside a lantern
I'm sure most of us have lanterns... remove the candle from inside and stack them inside!! Doesn't it look super cute??
3. Arrange them in a bowl
I *just* got this antique dough bowl yesterday (!!) and filled it up with pumpkins. I will have a full post on it later... but this dough bowl is BIG. So I stacked a whole bunch in it! If you don't have a dough bowl, you could always just take the largest bowl in your house and arrange pumpkins in it too!
4. Use them in your table setting
Place individual mini pumpkins on your table setting... you can use them for name card holders too. You could just add a little ribbon with someones name or lean the place card up against the little pumpkin!
5. Line them in a hallway
We happen to have our hallway with a ledge separating the rooms... but you could always line them on the floor too!

6. Stack them outside in and around garden statues!
Now this picture is actually from a garden shop, but I thought it was super cute! You could put them in your bird bath!
7. Place them in a tiered cake stand or rack
This is really easy to do... just place them on a tiered rack. You don't need that many to get a Fall look!
8. Put one in a tea cup!
I am sure you have some teacups displayed somewhere in your house... take a mini pumpkin and rest it carefully inside! Instant Fall!
9. Stack them in boxes!
To make it look more full, put a filler under them like pine cones or crumpled newspaper... that way it looks like you filled the whole box but in reality it's only a small layer on top!

10. Put them ANYWHERE!
The great thing about these mini-pumpkins is this: you can really put them anywhere. These are in my bathroom in the poor quality picture below (as you can imagine, the bathroom doesn't have the best lighting in the house). If you take 3 pumpkins and put them in a corner it really adds Fall to any room.  This for vignette for me is free as I grew these pumpkins. But if you didn't grow your own, they cost between 50 cents to $1 in the store, so this really is your cheapest option for Fall decorating!

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