Apple Cider Mimosas

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Festive is my middle name. Cozy is too. Let's just call me Astleigh Festive Cozy. For real though, I am in my element during the fall. From my house to the food I make, just about everything is fall-themed in one way or another. And I don't exclude drinks. 

For husband's birthday, we enjoyed a twist on a classic mimosa. Of course, I was inspired by apple season and our visit to the apple orchard the day before. Instead of the orange juice, I used apple cider. Of course, they were amazing and will be making another appearance soon. 

  • What You'll Need (measurements per drink)
    • 3/4 cup chilled champagne
    • 1/2 cup chilled apple cider
    • 1 apple, sliced
    • Gold sugar gems (in the sprinkles section at the store)

  • What You'll Do
    • Using an apple slice, cut a slice (not all the way through) and hang it on your glass rim. Swipe it all the way around to get the edge of the glass wet with the apple juice. Then dip the glass into the gold sugar gems.
    • Pour the apple cider into the glass, followed by the champagne. Throw in some apple slices and garnish with one on the rim.

And don't get me started on all the other ways I'll be using apple cider this season. There's a gallon of it in my fridge now just waiting to be used up. I think I'll start with my crock pot apple-stuffed pork recipe. It's supposed to be chilly, and there's nothing better than windows open, a crock pot meal cooking away on a fall day. Am I right?! 

What else do you use apple cider for during autumn??

In The Apple Orchard

Wednesday, September 28, 2016
On Saturday our family of three packed up after morning naps (I wish I could say the parents were included on that) and headed to my hometown for a little apple picking. In years past we have gone to Carter Mountain Orchard, but with all the moving this year, we couldn't swing the travel time. I must say that next year for our apple-picking tradition, we will definitely be making the trip. While we enjoyed our time at Doe Creek Farm, the adventure of a road trip and a whole day spent in a new place is more my favorite. Regardless, our family loves picking fresh apples and then baking up an apple storm in the kitchen!

The weather was lovely, if you're a summer person. This Indian summer is really killing the fall vibes. Temperatures in the high 80's and lowers 90's are not supposed to be happening in September. Alas, we forged ahead and picked through the heat. Granted, we didn't pick long for baby girl's sake. But the time we did have, we enjoyed. Sharing a family tradition with your child for the first time is always its own kind of special. We had been waiting for this day since last year when I was pregnant with her. Each year will just keep getting sweeter as we keep this tradition alive.

Apple picking with a baby is a whole new experience. Greer is getting to the point where she wants to be into everything. What am I saying...she's been in that stage for months now. She loved being able to hold the apples and examine them. Of course, she also wanted to put every apple in her mouth. Her sweetness about it all is enough to melt you.

Like I said, her wonder and amazement about new things and experiences will completely and totally melt you. Watching my daughter take in the world has been fascinating and everything is all new for me through her eyes.

One of my absolute favorite apple desserts is my apple crisp crumble. Put a crumble on top of anything and I'm falling hard for it. What better way to use these beauts than to make a hot apple crisp?! I think this year I'm going to switch the recipe up a bit, so I'll keep you posted with the final result!

But first, what are your must-make apple recipes?? Mine are this crock pot apple-stuffed pork, the apple crisp crumble, an apple plum crumble, and this slab pie (but with apples instead of peaches).

This girl looks just like her daddy! I see it so much in this photo. However, the older she has gotten the more of me I am starting to see in her. I'm beginning to think she is a lovely combination of the two of us, and depending on the angle, you'll either see more Pete or more me. 

I think she most certainly got my eye shape. One is rounder and one is more almond shape. Do you see it? While we're talking features, I'll add that her lips and ears are mine. But that nose and the eye color, and hair are her daddy's. It's so fun seeing yourself come out in your child.

And a profile picture to make your day. Because those cheeks are everything! P.s. if you want to know where baby girl's hooded romper is from along with my top, see HERE and HERE (similar)! And her romper, which comes in a set of two, is on MAJOR sale!

And more of our apple picking adventures from 2014 and 2015.

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A Black & White Gal-oween Party || Candy Corn Rice Krispies Treats + BOO Kit DIY

Tuesday, September 27, 2016
This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias Inc, and its advertiser MARS. All opinions are mine alone. #BOOItForward #CollectiveBias

Before you know it, Halloween will be here! I know, I don't understand how that's possible either. So this year I'm getting ahead of the game and party prepping for a fun black and white themed Gal-oween party with my best gals and throwing together the perfect BOO Kit DIY to spread some cheer during this festive time of year. If you've been around the blog long enough, you know that I absolutely love the holidays and I just adore decorating. Whether it be home décor or for parties, decorating is my jam.  

Hosting is another passion of mine, and I couldn't think of a better idea way to get some girl time while also putting together our BOO Kits and munching on finger foods. Y'all this is what this time of year is about. Quality time, holidays, and sharing some love. 

My biggest advice for party prepping is to come up with a theme and stick to it. I went with a classic black and white look, throwing in some orange and purple to give the room pops of color and that Halloween feel. Use what you have, like a flower vase for holding straws and a candle vase for ornaments. Little details will really spruce up any tablescape. From apothecary jars full of MARS candy to tiny pumpkins, it's easy to throw an amazing party without busting your budget. 

In  addition to great décor, you have to have great food! An easy and festive option are these Candy Corn Rice Krispies Treats. They're simple to make, fun to make with your kids, and they easily fit into your BOO Kit. 

  • What You'll Need
    • 3 TBSP Butter
    • 10 oz bag of mini marshmallows
    • 6 cups Rice Krispies
    • Orange food dye
    • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
    • 1 cup white chocolate chips
    • SNICKERS® Fun Size (chopped)
    • Candy corn cookie cutter

  • What You'll Do
    • In a saucepan melt the butter. Once it has melted, add the marshmallows. Stir constantly until all have melted. Add the food dye (as much as you want for the color you prefer). Remove from heat.
    • Stir in the Rice Krispies.
    • In a 9x13 pan, put down wax paper and spray it with cooking spray. Spread out the Rice Krispies mixture. Let cool.
    • In a double broiler, melt the semi-sweet chocolate chips. 
    • While the chips are melting, cut out the Rice Krispies treats with your cookie cutter. 
    • Using a plastic spatula spread the melted semi-sweet chocolate on the top portion of the treat. Sprinkle with the chopped SNICKERS®. 
    • Melt down the white chocolate chips in a clean double broiler. Spread over the bottom portion of the treats. Leave the treats to set and then serve.

I love to mix a variety of candy together, especially for the BOO Kits and trick-or-treaters. I love mixing SNICKERS® Fun Size, M&M'S® Fun Size, TWIX® Fun Size, Skittles® Original Fun Size, Starburst® Fun Size, and Life Savers® Gummies Fun Size for the best candy variety!

Now about those BOO Kits! I have to admit, I've never officially BOO'd anybody, but this year I'm changing it up. Mostly, because I think this will be a fun tradition for Greer each year, as a way to show our people a little extra love. BOO'ing is so simple, and it takes just a little creativity to put together the sweetest package.

I'm using my DIY Halloween Luminaries as the holder for all of my goodies. I went with this option because this way the entire BOO Kit can be enjoyed. Find the tutorial for how to make the Halloween Luminaries HERE or follow the guide below:

  • Supply List
    • Modge Podge
    • Sponge brush
    • 24 oz mason jar
    • Colored tissue paper (you can grab the American Greetings® brand available at Walmart)
      • green, purple, white, orange
    • Black card stock
    • Scissors

  • Cut the tissue paper into one inch strips.

  • Using the sponge brush, spread modge podge in sections around the mason jar, including an inch inside the jar & the bottom of the outside of the jar (see photo below). Place tissue paper strips where you’ve put modge podge, pressing it smoothly to the jar, and wrapping the excess over the top of the jar and under the bottom.
  • Once you apply a strip of tissue paper, spread more modge podge over it. Wrap the entire jar in tissue paper strips.

  • Using the black card stock, cut out the face you want to put on your mason jar Halloween luminary. We made the following colors into these Halloween characters:
    • Green >> Frankenstein 
    • Purple >> Dracula
    • Orange >> Pumpkin
    • White >> Ghost

  • After you have cut out the pieces for your character, spread modge podge on one side of it. Place the modge podge side down on the desired spot on the jar. Press firmly then spread more modge over go over each piece of card stock (see photo below). 

  • Turn the jar upside down on newspaper to dry. It will take at least an hour to fully dry, maybe longer depending upon how much modge podge was used. 

To assemble your BOO bundle, grab some shredded paper from you local craft store and stuff it into the bottom of the jar. Tissues paper will work great too. Then add Halloween candy, your Candy Corn Rice Krispies Treat (wrapped in a little plastic bag), some festive straws and a fingernail polish. This will be a wonderful surprise for your girlfriends! Add one of these BOO notes and encourage them to BOO It Forward! Read more at

In short, here's how you BOO:
  • Put together a BOO bundle.
  • Secretly deliver it.
  • BOO It Forward

And remember, your BOO kit jar can then be used to light the night with other Halloween luminaries and a strand of white lights!

And that, my friends, is how I'm throwing a Gal-oween party for my ladies + baking up a sweet seasonal treat + BOO'ing this year! Be sure to head to Walmart for all of your BOO'ing supplies! How will you BOO?!

P.S. Don't forget to grab the Ghostbusters® movie on Blu-Ray and DVD while you're there!