Cozy Fall Favorites

I’ve always said that fall is my favorite season, but it wasn’t until this past week that I pinpointed exactly why it’s my favorite season. For starters, I love the transition from long, hot summer days to slightly shorter, crisper fall days. Trees begin to change, and these vibrant colors are some of the best out there.

Fall is the season where we start our migration back into our homes after going out and being explorers for the summer–explorers in our gardens, towns, cities. We quiet ourselves as we embrace this change, and learn from nature just how beautiful a time of transition can really be. We indulge in simple pleasures, and refocus on what’s important. It’s our chance to turn over a new leaf.

When I write posts like this one, I tend to look outward for inspiration. This week, I thought I’d look inward. Scissors & Sage is two years old now, and I have a lot of really fun blog posts to show for my time here! Below, you’ll find a few of my favorite projects and recipes that embrace fall in all its cozy glory.

Nothing says fall like this trio: hot tea, ceramic mug, and knit coaster. Coziness is just oozing out of this picture! Learn to knit this coaster here. It’d make a beautiful gift set.

Looking to knit something wearable, instead? This cowl is a quick project with big results–perfect for fall layering.

It’s now okay to turn the oven back on. Wahoo! These mile-high coffee cake muffins are a real crowd-pleaser, and will provide a nice transition back into baking again.

Snuggle up with one of these homemade soy wax candles. They’re perfect for any room of your home.

Believe it or not, Halloween season is almost upon us. These spooky chocolate cake doughnuts are festive and pretty tasty.

It’s a perfect time to check-in with your recipe box. Mine, from Rifle Paper Co., fills me with a lot of joy. Start simmering those stews, people!

Let fall colors guide your crafting this season. These DIY leaf flowers make a beautiful centerpiece, and are a definite conversation-starter.

Felt is a great crafting material for cooler months. I made this two-pocket cell phone sleeve using gift packaging from Madewell!

There are a few more things on my mind this week:

  1. I recently discovered a company called Parachute. Have you heard of them? Their website and blog focuses on all-things sleeping. From selling luxurious bedding hand-crafted in Italy, to blogging about how to choose the right pillow, they’ve got it covered. And they cover it well.
  2. It’s time to try something new. I’ve got a few new crafting techniques and projects I’m interested in testing out soon, and I’m really excited about them. Our new apartment is the perfect blank canvas! Are you hoping to start a certain project soon?
  3. I don’t usually drink caffeine, but settling into a good book or knitting project with a chai tea latte sounds pretty excellent right about now. My favorite is Oregon Chai’s powdered mix.

What are you doing to get ready for fall? Are you excited, or are you already missing summer?

Frozen Lemon Iced Tea

There’s a specialty foods shop in my hometown called Susan Lawrence. One summer when I was visiting my parents, my mom introduced me to their frozen lemon iced tea. Now, I’m not usually one for iced tea. But this… This was a game changer.

This drink combines unsweetened iced tea and lemon sorbet. The sorbet replaces traditional ice cubes, and it naturally sweetens the iced tea as it melts. Isn’t that genius? It tastes truly amazing, and is a super fun drink–perfect for when friends or family come over, or just when you need something sweet after a long, hot day. I’ve finally set out to create my own version of Susan Lawrence’s frozen lemon iced tea. While I don’t know exactly what goes into theirs, I can say that it tastes very similar!

When Anne and I were in Chicago last week we met up with her friends Clare and Megan, who were also in town visiting family. They live in Santa Cruz, California, and grow an incredible lemon tree in their yard. Clare gives us lemons every time we see her! We’ve already used one to make tasty lemon squares, and next up is this lemon sorbet. Thanks, Clare!

(Store-bought lemon vs. Clare’s lemon)

Frozen Lemon Iced Tea

Active time: 15 minutes | Inactive time: 3+ hours | Yields: 6 cups iced tea and 3 cups lemon sorbet

Sun Tea ingredients:

  • 2 bags Tazo Earl Grey or other black tea
  • 6 cups water

In a clear glass bowl or pitcher, combine six cups of tap water and two bags of Tazo Earl Grey tea. Set in a sunny spot, and let sit for three hours. When the tea is sufficiently brewed, cover and transfer to the refrigerator.

Lemon Sorbet ingredients:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tbs lemon zest

Bring sugar and water to a boil in a small saucepan. Set aside, and let cool completely. Combine simple syrup, lemon, and zest, and pour mixture into the bowl of an ice cream machine. Churn sorbet for 25-30 minutes, and then transfer to an airtight container to freeze for 2+ hours.

To make frozen lemon iced tea, pour iced tea into a glass until half full. Use an ice cream scoop to place 3-4 scoops of sorbet in the glass. Swirl with a straw and enjoy!

Notes:

  • Sun tea is easily customizable. Use more tea bags, let it sit it the sun longer, or add herbs to the water. It’s up to you!
  • If you do not have an ice cream machine, you can combine the simple syrup, lemon juice, and zest in an airtight container and place it in the freezer. Stir the mixture every 30 minutes or so for two hours.

From Scissors & Sage

Picking Favorites: Recipes for Summer

Γεια σας! That means “hello” in Greek, and is pronounced “yassas.” I also learned how to say “cheers,” “good morning/evening,” “yes/no,” a couple of dog commands (random, I know), and other nifty things to get around Greece. It was a funny thing, traveling around a country where the alphabet is fundamentally different from English. Anne quickly became good at deciphering words letter by letter to find our way around. We felt like detectives!

It’s hard to believe that our long-awaited trip to Greece has come to an end–but what a trip it was! I’m not even sure I know where to begin, and my thoughts on the whole thing aren’t fully formed yet. I’ll say this: It was incredible. Beautiful beyond belief, really, and the people we met were so hospitable and kind. Life in Greece has a different pace to it than in the U.S., and we quickly fell into its slower rhythm. The food is healthy and locally grown, and the hot sun and salt water–oh, the salt water!–were nourishment for the soul.

Now back in Philly, I am trying to hold on tightly to some of these ways of life. I write my to-do lists on smaller pieces of paper; I buy fruits and veggies from the local market; I take a break in the afternoons. These things, for now, are keeping me relaxed and mindful. Next week, I’d like to share a few photos and stories from our trip with you, as well as some travel tips that I jotted down along the way–helpful hints that I didn’t know going into our trip.

Two things on the forefront: 1) I’m featuring a fun giveaway at the end of next month. Stay tuned for how you can enter! 2) Anne and I are in the process of looking for a new apartment in Philly. We’ve been talking about finding a new home for a few months now, and we’ll be making the move in about a month! Fingers crossed we find just the right spot for us to continue growing.

As I catch up on Martha Stewart Living and Bon Appetit, I’ve been inspired by all kinds of summer recipes. I’m a little behind the eight ball from being away (i.e. I’m just now reading about “Ten fun ideas for the Fourth!”), but now I can dive into seasonal dishes. Below are some that I’d like to give a try. Enjoy!

Recipes for Summer

Corn and Fregula with Halloumi (Greek!) Cheese from Bon Appetit (click here for the recipe)

Grilled Chicken with Lemon and Thyme from Food & Wine (click here for the recipe)

Tomato Cucumber Avocado Salad from Green Valley Kitchen (click here for the recipe)

Grilled Beet Baba Ghanoush from Bon Appetit (click here for the recipe)

Herbed Summer Squash Pasta Bake from Smitten Kitchen (click here for the recipe)

Iron Skillet Peach Crisp from Bon Appetit (click here for the recipe)

Grapefruit-Jalepeno Margarita from Camille Styles (click here for the recipe)

Mini Caprese Frittatas

A few weeks ago, I brought these homemade mini caprese frittatas to a brunch with some coworkers. They went over so well that I thought I’d share the recipe with you here! These frittatas are perfect for this time of year, with fresh basil and cherry tomatoes quickly coming into season. They’re delicious served hot or at room temperature.

Mini Caprese Frittatas

Prep time: 15 minutes | Bake time: 22 minutes | Yields: 12 mini frittatas

Ingredients:

  • 6 eggs
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 1 tbs pesto
  • 1 1/2 cups grated mozzarella
  • 12 cherry tomatoes

Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a standard 12-cup muffin pan with cooking spray and set aside. Cut cherry tomatoes into thin coins and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine eggs, milk, salt, pepper, and pesto. Whisk until fluffy, 1-2 minutes. Pour the egg mixture into the muffin pan, filling each cup approximately 1/3 full.

Bake for 10 minutes. At the 10-minute mark, sprinkle mozzarella evenly over each muffin cup. Put back in the oven and bake for 10 more minutes.

When the frittatas have cooked for a total of 20 minutes, place cherry tomatoes on top of each frittata. (The frittatas might be puffed up, but that is okay.) Once the cherry tomatoes are added, turn the oven to broil for the remaining two minutes.

Let muffin pan cool for five minutes before transferring frittatas to a cooling rack. Eat promptly, or at room temperature. Enjoy!

From Scissors & Sage

Brookie Rookie

I can’t tell if I’m late to the party or not, but I found out about brookies (part brownie / part chocolate chip cookie) only in the last few months. I was in awe when I saw them on Urban Bakes, and dropped everything to make them with Anne.

I was glad that Anne and I split the baking duties because it is essentially two recipes in one cookie. That’s a lot of prep work! Good thing brookies are hands-down worth it.

It was as if Brownie spent its whole life walking around believing it was whole. Later on, Brownie met Chocolate Chip Cookie, its other half, who complemented it in all of the ways it never knew it needed. Together, Brownie and Chocolate Chip Cookie made a new kind of whole. They are a match made in heaven.

What are you waiting for? Get baking!

The Ultimate Brookies (adapted from Urban Bakes)

Prep time: 30 minutes | Bake time: 10 minutes per batch | Yields 36 brookies + 18 chocolate chip cookies

Brownie ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In a large bowl, mix together sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Set aside. Melt the butter and chocolate in a saucepan on medium-low heat. Once the butter and chocolate have cooled, add this to the sugar, eggs, and vanilla mixture. Stir with a fork. Add the flour mixture and stir again until fully incorporated. Cover with saran wrap and refrigerate for two hours.

Chocolate Chip Cookie ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs
  • 4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to cream granulated sugar, light brown sugar, and butter until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla and eggs until blended. Use a fork to stir in flour, baking soda, and salt. Add chocolate chips and incorporate with your clean hands or a spatula. Cover with saran wrap and refrigerate for two hours.

Once the two doughs are chilled, preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Use a 1″ spring-loaded ice cream scooper to dispense six mounds of brownies onto each baking sheet. Clean the scooper, and dispense chocolate chip cookie dough next to each brownie round. Join the two cookies using your hands to close any gaps. (This may require pinching or light molding.)

Bake brookies for ten minutes, switching rack positions at the five-minute mark. Let brookies cool on the baking sheet for one minute before transferring to a cooling rack. Serve immediately, or store in an airtight container for up to one week. Enjoy!

Notes:

  • To keep the dough chilled between baking shifts, keep it covered in the refrigerator.
  • You will have ample chocolate chip cookie dough left over, as the two recipes are not quite even. I’m keeping my cookie dough in the freezer, so as to have it on hand for when friends and family visit!

From Scissors & Sage