DIY White and Gold Light-Up Halloween Pumpkin Makeover

Autumn is just around the corner and it’s time to start decorating! First up, Halloween! I absolutely love Halloween, but it’s not really my personal style to do a lot of gore or tons of orange and black in my home. One of the things I like to do with my Halloween decor is try to make it fit in with my home’s existing style. Here’s a really quick and easy way I updated a pre-lit, cheapy plastic pumpkin that I found for for $6. Isn’t he cute?

DIY Gold and White Halloween Light-Up Pumpkin (4).jpgSpray paint. That’s all you need. I went with gold and white of course.

DIY Gold and White Halloween Light-Up Pumpkin (3).jpgI painted the entire pumpkin with white satin paint (satin or gloss work best) and then sprayed the stem gold. I didn’t use tape or anything around the stem because I like the way the gold over-spray looks on the top of the pumpkin.

diy-gold-and-white-halloween-light-up-pumpkin-2

Cute, right?! I think I’m going to have to pick up a few more pumpkins and try different colors.

before-and-after-pumpkin

Anyway, easy peasy! Super cute and fits in perfectly with the rest of my decor.

diy-gold-and-white-halloween-light-up-pumpkin

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Elderflower Apple Cider Cocktail Recipe

Autumn is here and it’s time to start knocking back the ciders! I love apple cider in any way possible, especially with liquor. Since it’s still an inferno here in California we’ve been drinking more refreshing versions of my favorite autumnal beverage, like this cocktail made with elderflower liqueur, vodka, and sparkling water.

Refreshing Elderflower Apple Cider Cocktail

Elderflower Apple Cider Cocktail
Makes one cocktail

1.5 oz apple cider
1.5 oz vodka
.75 oz St. Germain
Sparkling water

Refreshing Elderflower Apple Cider CocktailShake cider, vodka, and St. Germain with ice. Strain into glass and top with sparkling water. Garnish with an apple slice.

Refreshing Elderflower Apple Cider Cocktail

Enjoyyyy!

Pink Pearl Apple Galette Recipe

We all know that one of the most popular (and basic) autumn activities is to go apple picking. You’ve probably already noticed all the posts on Instagram with boots, scarves, cider, and apples galore. This is mostly known as a North Eastern tradition, but believe it or not we have orchards for apple picking in Southern California, too!

Last weekend the weather cooled down for a whole day and we finally got some rain, so my husband and I took the trip out to our favorite apple picking spot, Oak Glen, to take advantage of the cool, rainy, fall-like weather.

Oak Glen, CA Apple pickingOak Glen is a quaint little town about 2 hours outside of LA. There are lovely orchards where you’ll find all of the traditional autumn favorites, from apples to hayrides to hot cider donuts.

Oak Glen ApplesThe reason I like going to pick my own apples is because I can usually find varieties that aren’t found in our local markets. This time we came home with Pink Pearl apples. These apples are sweet and tart with a gorgeous pink color.

Pink Pearl Apple Galette Recipe via Melodrama

We had some left over pate brisee dough hanging out in the freezer, so I decided to make a galette with the apples and apple jelly we got from our trip. These apples are amazing for baking. They’re super juicy and I think the flavor gets even better when they’re cooked.

Plus, they’re really pretty.

Pink Pearl Apple Galette Recipe via Melodrama

Here’s a recipe to make your own apple galette. You can use any apples you want, but if you can get your hands on some Pink Pearl apples, I highly recommend you do.

Galette Dough
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter chilled and cut into small pieces
1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water
Apple Filling
1 lb apples, cored
1/4 cup apple jelly
3 tbsp sugar
whole milk

In a bowl combine flour, salt, and sugar. Add butter, and use a dough cutter or food processor to mix the butter in until the mixture until it reaches a course meal texture. Add ice water slowly (1 tbsp at a time) until the dough just holds together without being wet. Divide the dough in half and into balls. Flatten dough balls into discs and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for one hour.

Roll out chilled dough on parchment paper or a lightly floured surface into a 1/8 inch thick circle. Chill again for about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile core and slice the apples. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.

Pink Pearl Apple Galette Recipe via Melodrama

Remove chilled dough round from refrigerator and spoon two tablespoons of jelly on to the dough, leaving at least a 1.5 inch boarder.

Pink Pearl Apple Galette Recipe via MelodramaPlace apple slices over the jelly in slightly overlapping concentric circles. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of sugar.

Pink Pearl Apple Galette Recipe via MelodramaFold the plain dough boarder over the apples. Brush with milk and sprinkle with remaining sugar.

Pink Pearl Apple Galette Recipe via MelodramaTransfer galette and parchment paper onto a baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. Lower oven temperature to 375 degrees for another 15 minutes or until dough is golden brown. Heat remaining apple jelly and brush on top of cooked apples for a nice shiny finish. Let cool for 10 minutes and serve.

Pink Pearl Apple Galette Recipe via Melodrama

Tangerine Olive Oil Cake Recipe

Now that summer is over it’s time to start the glorious task of baking with autumn and winter fruits. Sure, pumpkin and cranberry are popular seasonal favorites, like the king and queen of the holiday season prom, but what about our old friend the tangerine? If you’re craving something other than pumpkin pies and cranberry bars, I’ve got a citrusy treat for you.
Tangerine Olive Oil Cake Recipe via Melodrama
Tangerine Olive Oil Cake.

Tangerine Olive Oil Cake Recipe via Melodrama
This aromatic olive oil cake has a nice crisp crust with an ultra-rich spongey middle, and just enough tangerine flavor. It’s perfect to eat with tea or coffee for breakfast or with ice cream for dessert. Try a drizzle of orange blossom honey on for a special treat. It’s so easy to make, you’ll find it hard to resist whipping one up whenever you get the chance.

This recipe was adapted from Maialino Restaurant’s olive oil cake recipe.

For a 9 inch round (2 inch deep) cake pan you’ll need:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/3 cups tangerine olive oil (I like Pasolivo)
1 1/4 cups whole milk
3 large eggs
1 1/2 tablespoons grated tangerine zest
1/2 cup tangerine juice

Pre-heat the oven to 350°. Oil and line bottom of pan with parchment paper. In a bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and powder together. In separate bowl, whisk the olive oil, milk, eggs, tangerine zest and juice. Add the dry ingredients to the wet; whisk until just combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 1 hour, until the top is golden and a cake tester comes out clean. Transfer the cake pan to a rack and let cool for 30 minutes. Run a knife along the edges and remove cake from pan and let continue to cool.

Enjoy!

Tangerine Olive Oil Cake Recipe via Melodrama

Day Tripping: Fall Vibes and Apple Picking at Los Rios Rancho in Oak Glen

Even though I grew up in Southern California, I’ve always yearned for a traditional fall where the leaves turn and the air is crisp. On a good year we’ll have lots of days with chilly weather and some rain. We’ll also see an orange tree or two. I know it’s nothing compared to what other parts of the country sees, but I’ll take what I can get.

I was feeling particularly desperate to get into the autumnal spirit this year. California has been suffering from heat waves and drought, and most of October was a sweaty 80+ degrees. It was really bumming me out. As soon as we heard that temps were dropping and that the mountains might see some light snow, we immediately planned to wake up super early and take a day trip up to Big Bear.

It was definitely cold but no snow. Just some a couple of flurries and drizzle. We really had nothing to do without snow so after breakfast we decided to ditch Big Bear and head back down the mountain to Oak Glen in Yucaipa for apple picking. Best idea ever.

The scenic drive down the other side of the mountain was gaaawwgeous. Look at the trees!

San Bernadino National Forrest in November

Where to see fall foliage in Southern CaliforniaThere are several orchards to choose from in the area of Oak Glen. We visited Riley’s at Los Rios Rancho.

Riley’s at Los Rios Rancho is an adorable little spot to pick winesap apples. They hand you the necessary tools and you’re off to pick as many apples as your heart desires.

Riley's Apple Farm - Apple picking in Southern California

Apple Picking in Southern California

After spending some time there we went over to the main part of Los Rios Rancho. There’s a cider press, BBQ, a shop with tons of yummy apple foods, live music, and a petting zoo.

ANIMALS.

Piglet Goats at Los Rios Rancho

horses at los rios rancho

My phone died so I couldn’t take any more pictures, but you get the point. IT’S AWESOME. If you’re looking for fall fun, definitely look into visiting the Oak Glen area.

Now I have pounds and pounds of apples sitting in the kitchen which means one thing. Gnats. Just kidding! APPLE BUTTER.

Pumpkin Bourbon Ice Cream Recipe

Pumpkin Bourbon Ice Cream

Fall is almost here and that means one thing: PUMPKIN. Pumpkin flavored food has become an American tradition and our appetite for it only seems to be growing. Forget the leaves. Forget the sweaters. We want our pumpkin flavored foods and we want them now! Bring on the cookies, pies, and bread puddings.

I usually like to wait until summer is officially over before I indulge in autumnal themed foods, but this ice cream is the perfect recipe to transition you into fall. It’s a cool treat but with all the warm flavors of the season: pumpkin, spice, and bourbon.

It took a couple of tries but I think we nailed it with this recipe. The texture is light and creamy and all of the flavors harmoniously hit your palate. You can taste the pumpkin, spices, and bourbon without one outshining the others.

Ingredients

1 cup pumpkin puree
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
5 egg yolks
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 cup bourbon

In a bowl, mix together the pumpkin puree and vanilla. Cover and refrigerate.

In a mixing bowl with a whisk attachment, combine the egg yolks, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, salt, nutmeg, 1/2 cup cream and 1/4 cup brown sugar. Whisk until smooth and sugar is dissolved.

Then, in a 2 qt saucepan over medium heat, combine the milk, the remaining 1/2 cup of cream, and remaining 1/2 cup of the brown sugar. Cook until little bubbles form around the edges of the pan, about 5 minutes.

Remove the cream mixture from the heat. Gradually whisk about 1/2 cup of the hot mixture into the egg mixture until smooth. Then, pour the egg mixture back into the pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly at a low simmer for about 5 minutes and it is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon and leaves a clear trail when a finger is run through it. Do not boil! Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean bowl. Let cool to room temperature. Refrigerate until chilled.

Note: You can cool the mixture in an ice bath by placing the bowl in a larger bowl partially filled with ice water, stirring occasionally until cool. This will cool the custard faster. Otherwise, place plastic wrap directly over the custard (to avoid a skin from forming) and let cool on countertop, before refrigerating.

Whisk the pumpkin mixture and the bourbon into the chilled custard. Transfer to an ice cream maker and freeze according to your machine’s instructions. For firmer ice cream, transfer to freezer safe container and freeze for an additional 2-3 hours.

Makes about 1.5 quarts

Serve with crumbled graham crackers or speculoos cookies for added delight.

Pumpkin Bourbon Ice Cream Recipe

 
Special thanks to Cuisinart®.

Here’s a Pumpkin Spice Bread Pudding Recipe

Oh heyyyyyy, looks like it’s that time again. Pumpkin time! Even though I know damn well I can eat pumpkin food all year long I specifically reserve it for October through January. It makes me feel festive and happy and autumnal. What we lack in weather we make up for with pumpkin…or something. So, my friends, here is a recipe that I developed for my husband and his love of bread pudding. Pumpkin spice and everything nice. Seriously though.

Pumpkin Bread Pudding

First, you’ll need bread. Apparently pumpkin bread isn’t a thing so I had to make my own. ALL PUMPKIN, ALL THE TIME. If you can find pumpkin bread by all means go for it. Regular challah or brioche would work too. I guess. This pumpkin egg bread is super easy to make and perfect for bread puddings.

Pumpkin Egg Bread

Cut about 2/3 of the bread into cubes and let sit over night or put in a very low oven (about 170 degrees) for a couple of hours. You want the bread to be a little stale so it soaks up all of the nice pumpkin custard you’re about to make.

Pumpkin Custard Filling

  • 1 1/4 cups firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cloves
  • 2 cups pumpkin puree
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup milk

Whisk together the brown sugar, cornstarch, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves. Add the pumpkin, eggs, cream and milk. Continue whisking to combine.

Lightly grease a casserole dish or baking pan and pour filling over the bread pieces.

Pumpkin Bread PuddingMix it up and let sit for about 30 minutes so the bread soaks it all in. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Cover pudding with foil and bake for 25 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes or until mixture is set.

Pumpkin Bread Pudding

Let it sit for about 5 minutes before serving. Top it with ice cream, whipped cream, or whatever else you want because I declare there are no rules for garnishes! Eat up!

Pumpkin Bread Pudding