All posts in autumn

carrot soup and apple cornbread

I tried the most divine roasted carrot + coconut soup at a dinner party last month, and was inspired to try recreating it when I saw a beautiful bunch of carrots at the farmer’s market. Read more…

decorating: summer into fall

Chilly weather is here, and I’ve slowly been replacing summer/neutral decor around the house with fall and Halloween pieces.
I keep the same pieces on-hand from year to year (most came from my mom and our collective PartyLite stash) but I try to do different arrangements each time. Here’s this year’s versions!
Dining room table: silver bowl and hurricane shade –> wire apothecary vase with fall leaves and pumpkins
Dining room window nook: dried hydrangeas –> rosemary plant (has been outside all summer), red candlesticks & fall flower arrangement
Desk: mish-mash of summer wedding invites –> two of my favorite leaf-shaped candle holders
Kitchen corner shelves: Twins baseball memorabilia –> white and orange ceramic pumpkins
Front porch: blue jars and swirls –> pumpkins and jar candles
Living room: added leaf tealight holders to existing tablescape, and a big bowl and leaf coasters to the coffee table


It’s prime apple season here in Minnesota! Some college friends and I made a day of it on Saturday, driving out the Aamodt’s Apple Farm in Stillwater and baking in my kitchen afterward. In the past 24 hours, the following apple-licious dishes have been cooked in my kitchen:

  • Mini apple hand pies (shared)
  • Apple pie (Meredith’s)
  • Apple crisp with my mom’s cobbler crust – amazing (mine now!)
  • Stewed apples with ginger, lemon, cinnamon and cardamom, in the crock-pot (all mine.)
  • Autumn chopped salads with Honeycrisps (also mine)
I learned that Haralson and Regent apples, while not as large or pink-pretty as Honeycrisps, are great for cooking and baking. Good thing, because we picked a peck of ’em at the orchard yesterday.
Now I have stewed apples and hand pies to tuck in the freezer for later.

brunch for twelve and a costco christmas tree

It might be almost Christmas, but I’m still catching up from Thanksgiving-time. The highlight of which was discovering that my house can accommodate exactly twelve people, maximum, for a sit-down meal.

If momma hadn’t invited half the family for Thanksgiving brunch, I never would have tried it. Seemed like a crazy idea to me. But it worked! We moved the big dining room table toward the stairs, and set up the folding table near the window. I had to move the side table out of the window nook to make room, but it came in handy as a beverage station behind the couch.

Just two days later, the main floor went through another transformation. I wasn’t sure I was going to go all-out decorating for Christmas this year, since I’m sort of in and out a lot these days. But, we found a great deal on Christmas trees at Costco (8 foot pine for $30!!) so I relented and pulled out the ornaments and lights (and just a few nutcrackers).

When I left Minnesota the other day, there wasn’t any snow on the ground. So it didn’t make it so hard to come to California for the holiday. I sure hope there’s a few inches when I get back, even if it means I have to shovel!

Merry Christmas to you all, wherever you may be.


garden: ready for snow

This time last year, I was running around like a crazy person trying to figure out how to “get the yard ready for winter.”

This year it didn’t take much to convince me to hire it out. My thought process went something like this:

  1. I don’t want to rake the leaves.
  2. What am I thinking, I don’t have time to rake the leaves. Or mow the lawn. Or clean up the garden.
  3. You could make time if you wanted to, Lauren.
  4. No, I really couldn’t — I am traveling too much.
  5. Oh, and what’s that? Another work trip to New York? Okay …
  6. If it snows before the leaves are raked I’m going to lose all my grass to snow mold over the winter … all the grass that didn’t die in the drought this summer, that is …
  7. What the hell is going on with my perennials? (the pictures would just have made you sad, like me)
  8. Where am I going to borrow a mulcher from this year? And an edger? Why don’t I just buy a fancy lawnmower? Can’t it wait until spring?
  9. This is ridiculous. I’m not dealing with this anymore. 
Best $150 I’ve spent all year. Thank you, Earthworm Lawn Care.

(I love the leaf line between my yard and the neighbor’s!)

Believe you me, I took copious pictures of the way they hacked my perennials to the ground (i.e. last photo above) so that I can do it myself again next year. Probably. Maybe…

autumn morning

It does not feel like fall when it is 80 degrees outside. But it looks like fall…

the end of the garden

We had our first hard frost last week, and I spent most of Sunday afternoon raking leaves and pulling dead vegetable plants out of the garden.

basil and broccoli

tomatoes and beans

cherry tomatoes

a formerly vibrant zucchini plant

hydrangea trees

Already counting the days until I can plant next year’s tomatoes.

all hallow’s eve

decorating for fall

A few changes around the house after a delivery of the autumn PartyLite line from mom and a family trip to the orchard & pumpkin patch. Goodbye, summer… hello ginger pumpkin candles. Now this place really feels like home.






the first signs of fall

mums and gourds on the front step
mulled cider on the stove
my favorite tree on the drive to work