the great pumpkin

In the spirit of Autumn and Halloween, I couldn’t help but dive head first into the wonderful world of pumpkin. I’ve already mentioned how much I love apples, but pumpkin is a close second.

It’s a flavor I save exclusively for this time of year. Soon, as we near closer to Thanksgiving, my mom will start making batch after batch of her famous pumpkin-chocolate-chip bread to be wrapped in shiny silver foil and given to every acquaintance to come in contact with our family. By the new year, we are all sick of the spicy smell of pumpkin bread baking in the oven, but (since we don’t even consider eating it until the Fall), come November it’s a welcome treat.

This is my long winded way of saying that last week I decided to start making pumpkin dishes. I took my little pumpkin and (after taking a few photos) pureed it until it was a brilliant orange mush. And because I didn’t want to bake the traditional ‘Libby’s pumpkin pie’ until Thanksgiving, I made this southern interpretation from dear Martha. I also gave this Pumpkin Spiced Bundt Cake a whirl.

So thank you dear little gourd. You really were quite delicious!

P.S. This was from my last roll of black and white film. I’ve bought a roll a roll of color film so this blog will become a little more colorful in the future 🙂

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flying over icebergs

I won’t lie, looking for a job is hard. Emotionally taxing. Folks are so great about giving advice, and I really appreciate all the little tips, ideas and job leads. But sometimes? Sometimes I want to dig my heals in, be stubborn, prideful and tell people that I don’t need help (when the reality is, I do).

For the first time, I feel like I’m starting to inch along this long road, slowly but surely. I’m blessed beyond belief with a supportive family, a roof over my head (which more often than not, also involves homecooked dinner) and a cozy coffee shop that keeps me caffeinated as I scour job boards.

I found these photos when I was looking at the ol’ archives this morning. They’re from this July when I was flying home to move back for the foreseeable future. In the countless flights I’ve been on, I’d never seen something quite like this as we flew over Greenland. Brilliantly white ice caps floating in the ocean, speckling the blue sea.

I was nervous, a little sad, a little excited, and completely unsure of what would be next. Honestly, I still feel like I’m floating in that same limbo, but I’m hopeful that it will all be worth the wait (for whatever could happen next).

tu me manque

I’ve been home for a little over three months. I can’t hardly believe it – three. months.

 

Home Sweet Home

While I still feel a bit ‘fish out of water’, there are so many things I love about home…but here are also things I miss about lovely, little Luxembourg.

In no particular order:

1. driving the 7km to France to buy good French bread (strange, but true)

2. creme de marron (aka sweet chestnut paste…trust me on this one)

3. quiet, introspective moments on the train

4. speaking French

5. the flea market that would appear in my little town twice a year

6. sipping wine on cobblestone streets at 1 in the afternoon on a Saturday

7. peony season

8.mes bons amis

9. the weekly market where I would buy a loaf of good brown german bread, talk with my friend at the Greek stand, and on a good day, come home with fresh flowers

10. hot, mulled wine

 

a blustery day

So today was one of those blustery, cold, rainy Ohio Fall days. These will become all too familiar in the months to come.

But, I decided to look at this little situation glass half full and spent the afternoon cooking warm, delicious comfort food.

There’s a Spinach/Butternut squash lasagna (via the wonderful Jen Loves Kev) in the fridge, to be popped in the oven just before dinner and a pumpkin bundt cake baking as we speak.

….but really, the sun can return anytime….

two lovely ladies

Two of my favorite photos of the moment happen to be of two of my favorite ladies, both representing two distinctive, lovely eras of my life.

I met this fabulous woman at a cafe in France from whence grew a friendship based on food, bikes, thrifting and all things French. The day we took this photo, we were having a typical day at the market, looking for delicious fresh produce. She was wearing what would be her iconic red jacket and stripes. *sigh…I love this chick.

And this! This beautiful girl was my housemate/sorority sister/confidant/life coach during my blissful college years. And she just got maaarried! Here she was, just after her hair had been pinned up, fresh faced, giddy with pre-wedding excitement. Her wedding was one of my favorites – so much love and joy. It was so special to be with her in her last single-lady moments, getting ready to marry the love of her life.

apples

Last night, after driving home in the first wet, cold, rainy night of fall, I walked into my house (er, my parents house) to the intoxicating smell of burning firewood. This, combined with the crackling sound of the hearth, made me feel that Fall had finally arrived. And not just any Fall, but the season of my childhood. I realized it had been nearly seven years since I’d been home for the arrival of this oh-so-iconically-Ohio time of year.

Of course, this is the land of Johnny Appleseed, so you can imagine the pies, crisps, and sauces that are created with bushel upon bushel of apples. This doesn’t mean that I didn’t have any wonderful apple-filled memories from my previous homes. In France, we would spend our last euros on two liter bottles of fresh fresh apple juice from the market. In Luxembourg, each September would mean the hike up to the top of the apple hill where you’d find row upon row of perfectly manicured apple orchards (in addition to apple wine, butter, and liquor).

So here’s to apples! The bountiful fruit of my favorite season!

Road Trip, Black and White

Years ago, when  I was a pimply faced, pre-orthedontured adolescent, my father gave me an old Canon AE-1 35mm camera. I took it with me everywhere, photographing friends, staging photo shoots with old bed sheets, documenting everything from the Rose Bowl parade to my cats. Of course, with the advent of digital and my introduction to college parties (and the need for small, tiny, itty-bitty cameras), my first love gradually started collecting dust…until a wonderful friend gave me two rolls of black and white film for my birthday.

At the end of August, I hit the road to explore my home country and brought along my trusty old camera. I just got the first roll developed yesterday, and let me tell you, I missed the feeling of anticipation when you get that envelope of freshly developed photos. Did the turn out? The shot that you imagined in your head, did it translate in the same way onto film?

I love this re-introduction to my first camera. I’m rediscovering how it captures things, what light works best without a flash and what different apertures do. And of course, how wonderful is that sharp click that only manual film cameras make?

French Quarter Fancies

Look what we found, swaying on the streets of NOLA this weekend! The search for the perfect teal hair flower begins now (in addition to a dance partner with a sweet striped shirt and specs)…