FriYAY! + Some Favorites

Friday, August 11, 2017

Oh my goodness this week flew! Anybody else? While it was a slow blogging week, it was a full and busy five days including two dinners with friends + family, filling my home with festive fall décor, shipping out the fall pre-orders of Twine & Cotton candles, and beach-prepping. Yes, we're beach bound in less than 24 hours, and I'm SO excited for vacation and uninterrupted family time. #amen

Today has consisted of one million and one loads of laundry, but I'm happy to report that there are fresh donuts sitting in my kitchen. So that makes up for all the detergent-adding, lent-cleaning, clothes-folding that I've been doing. Now that it's past 5:00 and husband is on his way home to us, we can officially kick this weekend/vacation off! Until he arrives, Greer and I are taking a little break while it drizzles away outside and the clouds create the best kind of overcast cozy. She's watching her favorite cartoon while cuddled in on my side and mama is blogging this post. I thought I would put a bow on this week with some of my highlights and favorites. 

  • Have you seen these Halloween costumes for littles? I can't even. Who is scheming about costumes for their little(s)/family. I need some good ideas!
  • I'm really wanting some (barely) heeled clogs for the fall. I've found this pair and this pair, and while one has the right heel, it's got the wrong price tag. Have you found any similar clogs? If so, you must share!
  • If you haven't made this salad yet, you need to add it to your weekend menu. It's too good not to try!
  • In pulling out my fall décor, I've discovered that Greer is just as obsessed with pumpkins as her mama. She wants them all, and I can't blame her. So do I :) Speaking of fall, did you see my latest post on Darling Do's Facebook page?? Who's with me?
  • I finally painted my nails with Winning Streak by Essie that I've mentioned several times. And I. Am. In. Love. Greer loved it too and asked for polish on her toes too. Now we're matching. It's so much fun being a girl mom.

And a little question for you mamas out there...this vacation will be Greer's longest car ride as a toddler and fingers are crossed that she does well. If you have any tips or advice for successfully traveling long-distance with your toddler, leave them for me! #mamaneedshelp

Have a lovely weekend, friends! xo

**Affiliate links were used in this post. Thank you as always for supporting the blog!

Autumn Cobb Salad

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

It started out as an overcast, rainy day in the mountains, but for now the sunshine has taken over. My windows are open, a soft breeze is twirling in, and the cicadas are busy buzzing. School started back today, my nephews began kindergarten, and my seasonal décor is out. Fall feels nearer than ever, and it is absolutely delightful.

The cooler temperatures that have rolled in are so pleasant, but I admit I'm shocked August is this mild. I'll take it, though. If you've been reading the blog over the years, you know I'm smitten with autumn. It's the season I thrive in because it's full of all of my favorite things. One of those things I'm so looking forward to is cozy foods in the coming months. So I'm transitioning a little bit from fall to summer now when it comes to our dinner menu. And I'm starting with this Autumn Cobb salad and a homemade Spiced Cider Vinaigrette. Y'all, it is perfection one-thousand times over! This time of year begs for a salad this scrumptious.

p.s. if you watched my instagram stories last week, this is the recipe I was whipping up in my kitchen! 

With the summer months being hot and humid, light meals are the best way to go. I took some inspiration from this recipe to make a Cobb salad that was full of all things fall, but also perfect for the last month of summer. 

  • What You'll Need
    • For The Salad
      • Spring salad mix
      • 3/4 butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cubed
      • 3/4 acorn squash, peeled, seeded, and cubed
      • Olive oil
      • Kosher salt
      • 1 cup pecans
      • 1 egg white
      • 1/3 cup sugar + cinnamon mix
      • 4 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled 
      • 1 chicken breast, baked and sliced 
      • 1-2 avocados, peeled, pitted, and sliced
      • 1 honey crisp apple, cored and thinly sliced 
      • 3 hardboiled eggs
      • Dried cranberries
    • For The Vinaigrette
      • 2/3 cup spiced apple cider (see below for how to make this if you don't have it on hand)
      • 2 TSP dijon mustard
      • 1/4 cup vegetable oil

  • What You'll Do
    • For The salad
      • Peel, de-seed, and cube the butternut squash and acorn squash. Line out on an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet. Lightly drizzle olive oil and toss with your hands. Then sprinkle the kosher salt over top. Bake at 400° for 40 minutes.
      • To candy the pecans, whisk an egg white in a bowl, add the pecans, and the cinnamon/sugar mixture. Stir well. Spread over a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until the sugar looks crackled and hardened on top.
      • To prepare the salad, lay out the spring salad greens on the bottom of the plate. Make rows of the ingredients: squashes, bacon, chicken, hard boiled eggs, avocado, dried cranberries, candied pecans, and apple. Drizzle with the vinaigrette and serve right away. 
    • For The Vinaigrette
      • Whisk together the spiced apple cider, dijon mustard, and vegetable oil. Chill in the fridge unit you're ready to serve. Shake well when you are ready to use.

**Some notes for this salad. 

**It is certainly easy to make your own changes, substitute one ingredient for another, etc. I did various changes from my inspiration recipe to better fit my food preferences. 

**If you don't have spiced cider on hand, like myself, you can easily whip some up! If you're making your own. Use one cup of apple juice, a few shakes of cinnamon, a dash of ginger and nutmeg, and about 15 whole cloves. Bring the mixture to a boil and let simmer for about 10 minutes. Strain the whole cloves out, and your liquid will have reduced to 2/3 cup. 

**You can make the candied pecans ahead of time and store them in a ziplock bag in the pantry for a couple of weeks. 

It's as tasty as it is pretty, and as light as it filling. Such a good dish for August and the months ahead. If you give it a try, be sure to tell me your thoughts or how you tweaked it to make it your own!! I hope you enjoy :)

TGoodnessIF + Some Favorites

Friday, August 4, 2017
wire basket || 'year of cozy' book || fall candle 

Y'all! I think I barely survived this week. Husband has been on a week-long work trip to Kansas and I've been single-momin' it. I think I started running out of steam Monday afternoon (not good). Luckily, my mom has been staying with me. And although it's such a help, it's just different when the other parent isn't around. Husband and I are good at balancing each other (we're a solid team), not to mention I just miss him. Good golly, I've never been so happy to see a Saturday afternoon arrive in my life. #cantcomesoonenough

So how about some favorites for this Friday before signing off for the weekend?

  • I can't stop listening to this + this. It's been our jam throughout the week, and I believe it will be carrying us through the weekend.
  • Now that August is here, the onset of fall feels so very close. Can I get an amen? I've already got my eye on this doormat for the fall/winter seasons. 
  • This cozy cardi arrived in the mail this week, and I can't wait to wear on the next chilly day!
  • I have a new favorite salad recipe, and I'll be sharing it next week. If you follow me on Instagram (@astleigh_hill), you might have seen the salad I was prepping for on my stories. 
  • There is a HUGE giveaway coming to the blog this month, and I am beyond excited to share it with you. Eek!
  • Swinging is a favorite that I must have passed down to Greer (that or all children love it). She is crazy about swinging and whenever our backyard swing pops up in pictures I always get questions about where the swing is from. So here it is! And it's even fun for adults :)
  • My copy of the Magnolia Journal, autumn edition, arrived in my mailbox this week. I am making the time to pour through it this weekend. **praise hands emoji goes here**

Y'all have a lovely weekend! xo

p.s. Twine & Cotton's fall promo ends tonight! Don't miss it! Now is the perfect time for fall aromas to fill your house! 

**Affiliate links were used in this post. Thank you for supporting the blog!

Little Love Letters || July Edition

Monday, July 31, 2017

dear weekend weather, 
the perfect tease of fall, you were beyond perfect. your chilly temperatures had me in a light-weight sweater, and you're overcast skies made for sit-back-and-relax downtime. i love you more than you know. come back soon!

dear back-to-school,
how are you already here? july did you really even happen?

dear  buzzing cicadas,
you're summer sound marks the end of one season and the coming of another. you bring back so many childhood memories that i associate with your rhythmic buzz. and i love it in a sentimental way.

dear glass vase
i've got the perfect spot for you in my home. just saying. 

dear changing leaves,
i see you. you're in my neighbors' yards and there are even a few of you in my dogwood tree. you make my heart sing. 

dear mosquitos,
get lost. i know you love me, but let me be clear, i have no love for you.

dear fall magazines,
i'm eagerly waiting your august arrival to my mailbox!

dear toddler jammies,
you are adorable. i couldn't just get one pair, but this pair too. And I'm thinking she'll need this set as well.

dear pumpkins,
let me just say, i can't wait to fill my home and front porch steps with you. i know this is a little premature, but you're my favorite and it's almost the season!

dear nursery,
you're almost complete, and i can't wait to put the finishing touches on you! psst...can i still call you a nursery now that you're a toddler's room instead of a baby's??

dear open windows and cool breezes,
you make my home feel cozy and lovely. can we keep this up through the coming months?

cheers + xo's

p.s. read more little love letters.

p.p.s. don't forget twine & cotton's fall candles are in the shop and there's a promo running (see in the shop's announcement section)!

**Affiliate links were used in this post. Thank you as always for supporting this blog!