Pumpkin Spice Donuts

Something you may not know about me…I’m not a big fan of donuts. That doesn’t really make sense seeing as this is my second post in a month about donuts. But, I’ve recently had a change of heart.
I’ve realized that I’m a big fan of homemade donuts. They’re so much better. And I’m not just bragging about the fact that I made donuts in my own kitchen. They really are better. They’re baked, not fried and have way fewer ingredients. By no means am I saying these are healthy, but they sure do beat Krispy Kreme.
So why wasn’t I a fan of donuts? There was no reason in particular. I never craved them. I went for bagels instead. But bagels aren’t easy to make at home. Donuts are easy to make at home. And these donuts are pumpkin spice flavored! It doesn’t get any better for brunch in the fall.
Pumpkin Spice Donuts
Prep: 10 minutes / Bake: 12 minutes / Makes: 18 donuts
(original recipe via)
Ingredients
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup canned pure pumpkin (not spiced or sweetened)
Directions
1.     Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.     Combine flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda and spiced in a medium bowl.
3.     In an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the granulated sugar and butter on medium speed.
4.     Add the egg and the yolks to the mixer. Add in vanilla and buttermilk. Beat in the pumpkin.
5.     Fold in the dry ingredients in two batches
6.     Using a small spoon, fill the donut holes of a donut pan ¾ of the way full. Bake donuts for 10-13 minutes or until done.
7.     Serve warm with cinnamon sugar or plain


Cheers,

In the garden

Since moving into a house with a backyard, Bud and I have wanted to build raised garden beds. With the summer winding down, we can finally start planting things and they’ll have a better chance of actually making it. Both of us have a few ideas for the back yard, so I thought I’d shared some with you today! We hope to eventually have our own veggie garden, but I think herbs suffice for now.
1.     Thisone is shooting for the stars. This is the dream. I think I would just walk through it all day in awe.
2.     Thiswould work really well up against a wall or fence. I like the two levels too. It gives it some height and makes the bed different.
3.     So this one isn’t exactly a garden, it’s a window box. But who can resist a good window box? I love the potential of rotating out plants based on seasonality. It would make a house look so festive and welcoming!
4.     This one probably isn’t likely, but I still love it. It’s a great idea for a community garden, though!
5.     I love this one because you get more area out of the raised beds. This looks like a more involved project, but definitely worthwhile.
6.     The galvanized steel in this one has a classic and rustic look. I see them all over Austin and I love them!
7.     I love the simplicity of this one. Have something like that would give a relaxing ambience to the backyard.
Do you have any outdoor projects for the fall?
Cheers,
Brave Love Blog

Why I Began Blogging

Happy Sunday, y’all!

I’ve been in the blogging world for a little over a year now. At the beginning, I certainly didn’t know what I was getting into. Eighteen months later, I’m still learning!
I initially started the blog to connect with my family and friends across the country. I had recently moved to Texas and found myself craving deeper relationships. It was tough being in Austin at first. I was just starting out and building new relationships. At times, I was lonely. At other times, it was thrilling.
My biggest desire at the time was to be in multiple places all at one time. I wanted to be at home with my parents and be in Austin. I wanted to visit my friend in New York and my friend in George in the same weekend. I wanted to be two places at once.
The blog was born out of that desire. Shortly after, I began sharing recipes on the blog as well. I’ve always loved cooking and being in the kitchen. I wanted to make food and cooking more accessible through my blog.
I posted more and more recipes over time. The photography wasn’t great by any means, but I’ve slowly improved my food photography skills. Recipes are my favorite posts to share now and I find myself thinking of new thing to share all the time.
I know my blog will continue to develop over time.  I can’t wait to see where the blog takes me. That being said, I think I will always share recipes and my desire to be in two places at once.
Cheers,
Brave Love Blog

Blog-tember: Our Story

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As y’all know, Bud and I recently got married. Today’s blog-tember challenge is extremely fitting because, as of tomorrow, we’ll have been married three months. Yes, we realize it’s not that long to be married. But it’s still exciting! It’s crazy how quickly time has flown. 

Rewind almost three years ago and that’s where our story begins. Bud and I have known each other for a while. Our dads were fraternity brothers in college. Oddly enough, I met my now in-laws before I met Bud! 
Going into college, we were both aware of the other. My dad had told me about Bud and Bud’s dad told him about me (in hind sign I thing they were plotting from the beginning for the two of us to getting marriedJ). During freshman year, I pledged Alpha Delta Pi sorority and Bud pledged Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity. We had friends in common and asked about each other, but never met. 
We finally met sophomore year at an ADPI date function. He recognized me and introduced himself and that’s about as far as our relationship went for three years. We would see each other out with friends, but never pursued anything. 
Senior year rolled around and it was time for one of my sorority’s date functions. I found myself without a date and decided to ask Bud. At the time, I didn’t even have his phone number! I asked one of our mutual friends for his number and mustered up the courage to call him. 

We went on the date function and had a great time! But then it was time for Christmas break. For whatever reason, we didn’t talk for the next month. Spring semester rolled around and I got a text out of the blue from Bud inviting me to an event with the Geology school (oh – Bud’s a geologist. Pretty cool, right?). 

I got ready for the function and met Bud at our favorite bar at the time. Bud still had to get ready so we went back to his apartment. But by the time he got ready, neither of us wanted to go to the event anymore. We decided to watch a movie instead. I’m pretty sure we watched Fargo. Great movie, but super weird as a first date movie. Luckily for Bud, I have a pretty twisted sense of humor and happen to love Coen brother films. 

We continued to date pretty casually through the Spring semester without discussing our plans after graduation. As May drew closer and closer, graduation loomed over us and we finally talked about our plans and where the relationship was going. Bud was in Denver that summer and we decided to try dating long-distance. 

Once Bud was in Denver, we both realized how strongly we felt about each other. Bud planned to attend the University of Texas in Austin in the fall so I started looking for jobs. Shortly after, I got a job and moved! It was quite a leap of faith for both of us, but it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. 

In the past two years, we’ve supported each other, fought with each other and loved each other. We got engaged last September and married last June. It’s been quite the journey and I can’t imagine it any other way! 

So there you  have it! We just got a CD of our wedding photos, so I plan to share those with y’all shortly. 

Cheers, 

 
Brave Love Blog

Friday Link Love and Traditions

 Make these “healthy” potato skins from Pinch of Yum
Bake this amazing rosemary bread in the crockpot
Drink a Pumpkin Spice Latte!!!!
Eye all the new looks at NYC fashion week
Today’s prompt for the blog-tember challenge – my favorite tradition.
I have a lot of favorite traditions. Most traditions are associated with holidays or family events. My family has plenty of those (coffee cake on Christmas day, addressing presents like they’re from celebrities, etc.) For this particular post, I wanted to share a not-so-traditional tradition with you.
I was thinking back on a few traditions that I don’t necessarily take part in anymore for various reasons. One thing that kept coming to mind was camp traditions. I went to the best camp ever growing up, Camp Greystone. It’s based in Tuxedo, North Carolina and has been run by the same family for over 90 years. I loved celebrating the same traditions year after year as a camper and even as a counselor years later.
One of my favorite traditions was saved for the final night of camp. On that night, the evening program would be a play put on by all the counselors, it’s also know as Banquet. But the play was always, always a secret. Anticipation built all throughout camp for weeks.  Campers would guess the theme and rumors would spread like wildfire throughout the camp. Counselors (including myself) would drop fake hints about Banquet to get campers even more excited.
As a camper, Banquet always exceeded my expectations. The pavilion where the play was performed would be decked out. The dining hall would be decorated to the nines according to theme and the meal was always spectacular. Words can’t even describe what it felt like to be a Camp Greystone on the final night of camp.
As a counselor, Banquet night was even more special. Greystone usually picks a Disney movies or kid-friendly movies as the play. The year I was the counselor, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was the production. Counselors spent the entirety of camp preparing for the play and then the camp almost shut down on the last day just so the decorations could get set up. Honestly, it’s a magical experience.
I loved being able to experience camp from both the camper perspective and the counselor perspective. It made Greystone so much more special to me. The traditions and the people are so unique. I hope I can back some day!
Cheers,
Brave Love Blog

Blog-tember : Inspiration

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Inspiration is a tough thing for me. I go through ups and downs when it comes to blog content. Sometimes I have so many ideas and recipes to share and other times I’m inspirationally drained. 
In the times when I’m at a loss for inspiration, I’ve found a few things work for me: 
1.      Take a break: Walking away from a post I’m working on or just not posting on the blog for a few days helps revive my creative juices. Honestly, it can be the best thing for both me and my readers.  Nobody wants to read lousy content!
2.      Check out Pinterest: Now, this one should be done in moderation. I no way and I saying that I just quit what I’m doing and hang out on Pinterest all day. It’s tempting, but I try to shy away from doing that. Pinterest can be a great source of inspiration. I find most of my recipes through Pinterest. I also find great quotes (for Wise Words Wednesday), DIY projects and other random snippets that I share on the blog. I’m very visual so Pinterest works well as a jumping off point for me. 
3.      Read other blogs: There are so many great bloggers out there. I get inspired by at least a couple bloggers daily. Following other blogs also helps me see how I can connect in new ways with the blogging community and what new trends are out there. I use Bloglovin to follow most blogs. It’s a great tool and works similarly to Feedly.  
By no means is this a comprehensive list of ensuring I stay inspired. Sometimes, regardless of the situation, I just don’t feel inspired. And that’s totally OK. It always comes back. Something always triggers the creativity again and I’m re-inspired. 
How do you stay inspired?’
Cheers,

Brave Love Blog

Blog-Tember Challenge, Bread and Wine Link Up #3 and a hummus recipe

Get ready for a jam packed post today, folks. The purpose of this post is two-fold: participating in the Blog-tember challenge AND linking up with Oh, Simple Thoughts for the Bread and Wine Link Up.
Let’s kick it off with a recipe. Since getting a food processor, I’ve had a list of food that I’ve wanted to make using the machine. One of the items on the list was hummus! I saw a recipe from Life Could be a Dream a few weeks ago and thought it was the perfect recipe for hummus. It’s a simple, tasty and affordable option for a great snack!
Rachel from Oh, Simple Thoughts posed the following question for this month’s link up:
How do you slow down when it comes to the food you feed your family, and the time you spend with others in your home? 

I think this hummus recipe is the perfect example of slowing down when it comes to food. Instead of buying the quick, easy store bought option, you have to slow down just a little bit to intentionally make your food. Making food from scratch with quality ingredients nourishes you physically and can nourish you spiritually. 

I’ve always loved homemade meals. Even meals that take 30 minutes or less to make still allow you the time to slow down and really take the time to make the most of your food.  Being intentional about the food you eat and the time it takes to prepare it can make a huge difference in the long run. 

Traditional Hummus
Prep time: 5 minutes / Cook time: 5 minutes / Makes: 2 cups
(original recipe from Life Could be a Dream)
Ingredients
1 (15 oz) can of chickpeas
1-2 cloves garlic (depending on how garlicky you like it and how big the cloves are)
juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/3 cup olive oil
1 tsp ground cumin
a little less than 1 tsp salt
pinch of pepper
Directions
1.     Combine all ingredients in a food processor. Turn processor on low for 3-4 minutes or until smooth.
2.     Serve immediately or store in the fridge.
Now on to the second prompt of the day. The theme for the day for the Blog-tember challenge is 10 things that I love about myself. Not going to lie, this is a tough one for me. But, I came up with a list and would love to hear about your list as well!
Things I Love about Myself
1.     I love that I know my way around the kitchen.
2.     I love my laugh.
3.     I love that I’m organized (weird, I know)
4.     I love that I’ve never dyed my hair (thanks, Mom!)
5.     I love my style.
6.     I love my creativity.
7.     I love my sense of humor.
8.     I love that I can talk sports.
9.     I love that I’m from the South,
10. I love that I’m a crazy cat lady ( and proud of it!)
Cheers,
 
Oh, Simple Thoughts.

Blog-tember Challenge – My personality

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How would you describe yourself? Introverted or extroverted? I would describe myself undoubtedly as an introvert. Why am I so sure? I savor personal time, I generally rely on logic over emotion (but not like Spock) and my primary mode of living is internal. 

According to the Myer’s-Briggs test, I’m an I-N-T-J: Introverted, intuitive, thinking, judging. Apparently, INTJ’s only represent about 2% of the population, so that’s pretty neat. I’m not going to put any pressure on myself to live up to the expectations associated with that statistic though. 
So how do I feel about my personality? Honestly, up until college I felt like being an introvert was the lesser of two options. I felt like I wasn’t social enough or outgoing enough. I assumed the goal was to be extroverted because it was better to be an extrovert. 
But then that all changed. Slowly, the idea of being introverted grew on me. I never overreacted emotionally and didn’t in a lot of fights with friends. I was prepared and organized so I rarely felt out of sorts. I also realized I was intuitive and discerning. Not so bad, eh? 
I became more and more confident as an introvert as an adult. I protect myself better as an introvert than I used to. I know what I need and how to respond to my needs.  I know I need my down time to disconnect and recharge my battery. I also know I need to surround myself with people that will challenge and encourage me so that I don’t rely on myself.

I continue to learn more about myself as I grow up. There are positives and negatives that come with any personality type. Embracing who I am has been essential in maturing for me. 

What have you learned about your personality? Do you think your personality has always been the same?
Cheers,

Brave Love Blog

Blog-tember Challenge : Music that Moves Me and Allusions to Seinfeld

I live in Austin, which is widely known as the “Live Music Capital of the World”. I’m no music expert, but since move to Austin I’ve definitely been exposed to a wider range of music.
The radio stations here always feature local artists as well as artists that aren’t played in other markets. It’s a great way to learn about new talent out there. This isn’t to say that I don’t love the pop artists of the world too. I’m not too proud to blast Beyonce or jam to John Mayer. Overall, my musical taste is all over the board.
I’ve curated a list of songs that I can’t get out of my head. Check them about below:
1.     Left Hand Free – Alt-J
2.     Lavender Skies – Ray LaMontage
3.     Unbelievers – Vampire Weekend
4.     25 or 6 to 4 – Chicago
5.     Home – Ingrid Michaelson
6.     My Baby Takes the Morning Train – Sheena Easton (Bud sings this to me every morning)
7.     Wildewoman – Lucius
8.     South of Nowhere – Spanish Gold
9.     Do You – Spoon
10. Last Dance for Mary Jane – Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
11. Bang Bang – Jessie J, Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj (also does this song remind anyone else of this)
12. Linger – The Cranberries
13. China Grove  - The Doobie Brothers
14. Wordless Chorus – My Morning Jacket
15. Love Runs Out – OneRepublic
16. London Homesick Blues – Jerry Jeff Walker
17. Don’t Worry Baby – The Beach Boys
What songs are you listening to lately? What albums are you most looking forward to this fall?
Cheers,

What I’m Reading

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I’ve always been a huge reader. When I was a kid, I actually transformed our linen closet into a reading “nook”. I used the floor of the closet as a little getaway for when I read. At the time, the closet had a very distinct smell due to water damage (which has long since been fixed) and since then, I usually associated that smell with reading a good book. It’s an odd smell to associate with books, but the smell brings back good memories for me so I guess I don’t mind.

As an adult, I usually read at least 20 minutes every night before I go to bed. I have a Nook and up until a few months ago I loved it. Then it went on the fritz and I’m thinking of switching to a Kindle. For now, I’m reading the old fashioned way…with an actual book!  I’m currently reading Love in the Time of Cholera.

So what am I planning to read after my current book? Let’s take a look!


1.     Blog, Inc. by Joy Cho
2.     The Edge of Eternity (Book #3 in The Century Trilogy) by Ken Follett
3.     Bread and Wine by Shauna Niequist
4.     The Circle Maker Prayer Book by Mark Batterson
5.     Casion Royale by Ian Fleming
6.     Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
7.     Food: A Love Story by Jim Gaffigan


What about you? What are you planning to read?


Cheers,