Author Archives: Paige Greenfield

Pumpkin Oat Chocolate Chip Cookies

Pumpkin Oat Chocolate Chip CookiesHappy Monday! I hope you had a great weekend. Did you do anything fun? Robert and I had a few adventures, but my favorite was a three-hour long intro to pottery class we took Saturday night. Um, did you know that using a potter’s wheel (is that even what it’s called?) is super hard? It took us a while to get the hang of it and learn how to keep the clay from flying off. It was so fun to get our hands dirty and pick up a new skill. We’re still total beginners, but Robert was quite good at it! We’re lucky that the place we went to is within walking distance to our house so we could definitely go again.

Okay….cookie time!!! What better way to start off the week, right? Now, if I’m posting a pumpkin recipe on here then you know it has to be great. There are approximately 10 billion pumpkin recipes floating around out there (not to mention the 10 billion pumpkin products currently available at Trader Joe’s) that I wouldn’t bother adding another one unless it was really, truly superb. And these are!

Pumpkin Oat Chocolate Chip CookiesLike most pumpkin-based goods they’re a cakier confection and I love them for it. I’m a huge fan of oatmeal chocolate chip cookies and these are a seasonal version of my favorite recipe.

I especially love sticking these in the freezer once they’ve cooled and snacking on them straight from there. The cookies become extra chewy and the chocolate chips have just the right amount of bite. You just can’t beat it. I highly recommend keeping a batch of these on hand to satisfy your pumpkin cravings for as long as they last. If that’s until springtime I certainly won’t judge you for it!

Pumpkin Oat Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups oats
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add pumpkin, egg, and vanilla extract and beat until combined.

In a separate bowl, add flours, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice, and salt and whisk to combine.

Add dry ingredient mixture to pumpkin mixture in two to three batches and mix until all ingredients are combined. Add oats and chocolate chips and mix until combined.

Drop cookie dough by the heaping tablespoon onto a baking sheet lined with parchment. Bake cookies 12 to 15 minutes until edges are lightly browned. Cool on baking sheets for a few minutes and remove to wire racks to finish cooling.

 

Journey to Baby on SHAPE.com

Hi friends. I’m jumping on here this morning to tell you about a piece I wrote for SHAPE.com. It’s  about our journey to baby. We learned a lot along the way and couldn’t be more grateful for where we are today. The article on SHAPE.com is the most personal piece I’ve ever written and my first essay that’s ever been published. #cuepanicattack

Part of me wants to pretend I didn’t write it and let it go as unnoticed as possible. Considering the fact that it’s already received a whole bunch of shares, I guess that’s not going to happen.

The truth is, as a writer, I feel a certain responsibility to share what I’ve learned with the hope that it could make a difference for someone else. Of course, everyone’s experience is completely different and most women will never face some of the challenges that I did. Still, the statistics show I’m not alone.

So while I’m pretty nervous about strangers, friends, and relatives (eek!) reading about this uberpersonal stuff (and talking about things like menstrual cycles and mittelschmerz…) if it helps or informs one person then to me it’s worth it.

Check it out on SHAPE.com if you desire. And stay tuned for my first trimester recap coming soon!

Chicken Sausage Vegetable Soup

Chicken Sausage Vegetable SoupOh, this soup! I just can’t get enough. And isn’t it so colorful? It began as a clean out the kitchen meal a week ago: Half an onion, some remaining carrots and celery, potatoes from our CSA, half a bag of spinach, chicken broth and tomatoes from the pantry (I try to keep them stocked)…But as soon as I tasted it I knew it was something special and already couldn’t wait to make it again.

Fortunately, I had the opportunity to do just that this week. Our friends Mallery and Dave recently had a baby (she’s so cute!) and I had planned to bring them dinner one night. Before Mallery was due I asked her if they had any allergies, aversions, or preferences. She said that since they wouldn’t be cooking as much they’d probably be in need of some veggies. Soup seemed like an ideal solution since you can cram as many vegetables in there as your heart desires. Plus, it provides plenty of leftovers so it’s like delivering several meals in one.

Chicken Sausage Vegetable Soup

This soup contains a secret ingredient that I believe elevates it above your run-of-the-mill pot of soup: White wine! (Not to worry, it cooks off.) After browning the sausage really well, add about 1/4 cup of white wine to the pot and use a wooden spoon to deglaze all of that delicious goodness from the bottom. There’s no other way to capture a level of flavor quite like that. Trust me!

Normally, I only have two taste testers when trying a new recipe: me and Robert. This time, I was lucky enough to get Mal and Dave’s opinion and I think they loved it as much as we did. A few hours after delivering the soup, she sent a text saying , “The soup is amazing! Can you send me the recipe? It’s going in my permanent rotation!”

I’d call that a win!

Chicken Sausage Vegetable Soup

Ingredients 

  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound chicken sausage (I used spicy chicken sausage). Leave the casing on, slice each sausage vertically in half and then slice horizontally into bite-sized half moon pieces.
  • 1/4 cup white wine (I used chardonnay)
  • 1 small or 1/2 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 stalks celery, thinly sliced
  • 4 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 2 to 3 Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-sized chunks
  • 3 big handfuls baby spinach (about 3 oz)
  • 1 to 2 cups water, if needed
  • Salt to taste, if needed

Preparation

In a soup pot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add sausage. Cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 10 minutes. Remove sausage to a bowl and set aside.

Pour white wine into pot and use a wooden spoon to deglaze bottom of the pan. Add more wine, if needed, until all browned bits are scraped from the bottom. To the pot, add onion and garlic and sauté until onion is softened and translucent, about 7 minutes. Add celery and carrots and sauté until they begin to soften, about 7 minutes more.

Add chicken broth, diced tomatoes, and potatoes. Add sausage back to the pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, about 20 to 30 minutes. If you feel like too much liquid has cooked off, add 1 to 2 cups of water. Before serving, add spinach and stir until wilted. Add salt to taste, if needed.

 

Slow Cooker Applesauce

Slow cooker applesauceWow. I just want to say a huge THANK YOU for your happy wishes after our big announcement last week! I was so nervous about sharing the news. There were a few high-pitched squeals followed by a jig around 6 a.m. when I hit “publish.” Later this week I’ll be sharing a first trimester recap post. But today, I’m so excited to share with you my new favorite thing: Slow cooker applesauce!

If you’ve never made homemade applesauce before, it far exceeds anything you could buy in a store. The taste, the texture, the color—there’s just nothing like it! Until last week I’d always made homemade applesauce on the stove, cooking apples in a little water until they were soft enough to put through the food mill. Then, it occurred to me that using the slow cooker could mean I wouldn’t have to stand over the stove. Happily, it worked like a charm and will be my go-to method from now on.Slow cooker applesauce

For the recipe below I recommend using a food mill. Although there aren’t that many uses for it, I highly recommend acquiring this kitchen gadget. {I imagine it’ll also come in handy when I start making baby food—I can’t wait for that!} Funny side note: The two kitchen tools Robert contributed to our relationship are a food mill and an immersion blender. The man loves his pureed foods!

If you don’t have a food mill, this recipe will still work. You’ll just need to peel and core the apples before quartering them and dumping them into the slow cooker. The reason I prefer to use the food mill, though, is because you get that beautiful pinkish color from cooking the apples with their skins. I promise it’ll still be delish no matter which method you use {instructions for both are below.}

Slow cooker applesauce

There are so many applesauce recipes on the Internet that call for sugar or butter. That BAH-LOWS my mind because you don’t need anything except apples, cinnamon, and a little water. I have a mega sweet tooth and I guarantee homemade applesauce is sweet enough on its own. I just love this stuff. After cooling the applesauce in the fridge, I packaged it into Ball jars and then froze most of them. We still have two GIANT bags of apples from our apple picking adventure in Michigan a few weeks ago, so I’m sure I’ll be making more batches in the coming weeks.

One more note: The recipe doesn’t contain exact measurements because it depends on the size of your slow cooker and how cinnamon-y you like your applesauce to be. We’re huge cinnamon fans so I sprinkle the stuff pretty liberally. The great news is you can taste as you go to determine a level that makes your taste buds happy.Slow cooker applesauce

Slow Cooker Applesauce

Ingredients

  • A mix of any kind of apples, quartered. If using a food mill, leave the skins on. Use as many as you think will fit into your slow cooker. If you don’t have a food mill, peel and core your apples first.
  • 1 or 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1/4 to 1 cup of water, depending on the size of your slow cooker. I have a 6.5 quart slow cooker and used about 1 cup of water. If you have a standard 4 quart size slow cooker, I’d recommend about ½ to ¾ cup of water.
  • Ground cinnamon

Preparation 

With a food mill:

Add apples (unpeeled, uncored, and quartered), cinnamon stick(s), and water to slow cooker. The apples can go all the way to the top as long as the lid fits securely on. Cook on low for 4 hours. Lift lid and stir with a wooden spoon. Apples should break down easily when you stir.

Place food mill over a heat-safe bowl and ladle some apples and liquid into the food mill. Turn to make applesauce. You may need to empty the food mill of skin, seeds, and core into the trash a few times while making the applesauce. Continue this process until your slow cooker is empty.

Taste applesauce and add some ground cinnamon, about 1 tsp at a time, until you find a level of cinnamonness that you enjoy!

Without a food mill:

Add apples (peeled, cored, and quartered), cinnamon stick(s), and water to slow cooker. The apples can go all the way to the top as long as the lid fits securely on. Cook on low for 4 hours. Lift lid and stir with a wooden spoon. Apples should break down easily when you stir.

Pour contents of slow cooker into a blender, in batches, or use an immersion blender until you achieve desired consistency.

Taste applesauce and add some ground cinnamon, about 1 tsp at a time, until you find a level of cinnamonness that you enjoy!

We’re Having a Baby!

Apple3 Robert and I are thrilled to share our happy news: I’m pregnant!!!! I’m 17 weeks along! Baby and mama are doing great. Robert’s still not sure what all the fuss is about, his first trimester of my pregnancy was really easy : ) According to all of my pregnancy apps, Baby Fowler is currently the size of an apple. It’s appropriate since I’ve eaten about two apples per day this week and more applesauce than I should probably mention.

DSC00387I’ll try not to bombard you with many bump photos here or on Instagram, but I know I’m always curious to see them. This was my bump at almost 16 weeks…things have grown a bit since then.IMG_0008For our one year anniversary, Robert had a photo of our most recent ultrasound (taken at 13 weeks) framed. Traditionally, the first anniversary present is paper and I can’t imagine a more perfect gift. To say I teared up when I unwrapped it would be a massive understatement.

#bawledmyeyesout DSC00438 The photo is now hanging in our room. I stop and stare at it every time I walk by. I can’t believe that little being is in my belly right now!! We’ll find out whether it’s a boy or a girl at the end of October. I’ll be sure to share the news here, too!! For now, I’m off to stuff my face with second breakfast, my new favorite meal. Thank you so much for sharing in our joy!

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Celebrating One Year of Marriage in Saugatuck

Last weekend Robert and I celebrated our one year wedding anniversary in Saugatuck, Michigan. I can’t believe it’s already been one year. Easily the fastest and happiest year of my life. Saugatuck is located about 2.5 hours outside of Chicago, making it an ideal location for a weekend getaway. Michigan also holds a special place in my heart because it’s where we spent our honeymoon last year {though we were much further up north then.}

This year, we had a fantastic time exploring the quaint waterfront town, eating delicious food, hiking some dunes, and relaxing in the adorable cottage we rented. To top it off, we had perfect weather (70’s and sunny!) all weekend long.

We arrived Friday around 5 p.m. After unloading the car, walking into town, and popping into some shops, we enjoyed an early dinner at Restaurant Toulouse. Although it’s a French bistro, the menu was totally eclectic. To start, we shared some bruschetta, I had a house salad with pineapple vinaigrette, and Robert had a spinach salad with dried cranberries, apple, walnuts, and chèvre. For entrees, I ordered herbed salmon with a butter cream sauce (swoon) and Robert had red beans and rice with tenderloin beef tips (so good). We sat outside, watched the sun set, and listened to a live guitarist. Afterward, we enjoyed some ice cream and chocolates from Kilwins, wandered along a dock looking at boats, and headed home for an early night. {Sorry we didn’t think to take any pictures on Friday!}

Saturday morning we walked into town for an egg breakfast at Pumpernickel’s Eatery. We also shared a cinnamon roll–great way to start the day! We then took a 10 minute drive to Saugatuck Dunes State Park and hiked through the woods to the lake.DSC00398DSC00400

We couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day!

DSC00392Next, we took a 20 minute drive up to New Holland. Such a pristine little town! We roamed around and had lunch sitting at the bar at New Holland Brewing.  I had a salad with grilled chicken and homemade seasoned potato chips that rocked my world. Robert ordered the chili.

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We returned home to our cottage, relaxed for a bit, and got ready for dinner. Thanks to a recommendation from friends, we’d made a reservation ahead of time at the Belvedere Inn.  It’s a chateau-like B&B with beautiful gardens and a great restaurant. We arrived a little early and enjoyed drinks on the veranda followed by a four-course meal.

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Hello, handsome husband.

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Highlights of our meal include beet and pear carpaccio, butternut squash soup with crab, lobster tail for me and filet mignon for Robert. Then, Robert completely surprised me by having a local bakery recreate our FUNFETTI wedding cake they delivered to the restaurant!!!!!! One of the best surprises ever!!!! It was delicious, so thoughtful, and I’ll never forget it.

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IMG_0023As if the night wasn’t already special enough, we watched a couple get engaged right after dinner!!! It was the sweetest. I may or may not have cried like a baby.

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Sunday morning, our actual anniversary, we got an early start and had a delicious breakfast at Uncommon Coffee Roasters. It was the cutest little spot. I wanted to order muffin and scone crumbs from the display (isn’t that the best part?), but it wasn’t exactly on the menu. DSC00453

I had oatmeal with brown sugar and chai tea.

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Robert had a cinnamon oat muffin, hot apple cider, and a smoothie. He also had some wicked photography skills! I kind of want to move into this image he took below (he took most of the photos in this post with our new camera.)DSC00459At last, it was time to head home. But first, we stopped at the same apple orchard we went to on our way home from our honeymoon! We stumbled upon it thanks to a sign on the side of the road last year and couldn’t have been happier that it was only 15 minutes away from where we stayed this year. It was a much different experience picking apples in the warm sunshine compared to the downpour we experienced while apple picking last time, but it was just as fun.

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We took some shots for Robert’s forthcoming country music EP. ha!

DSC00470We decided to start the tradition of taking a picture every year on our anniversary.

Year One:

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I’m so happy we got a chance to get away for a few days. It was such a perfect opportunity to spend time together, reminisce about the past year, talk about our future, and make new memories together. I can’t wait to see what year two has in store for us!

Mom & Dad Visit Chicago and We Did STUFF

IMG_5781Earlier this week, my Mom and Dad flew from New York to Chicago to hang out for a few days. On Monday night, Robert joined us for dinner at Revolution Brewing, but had to catch a flight that evening for work (sadface). Still, the three of us (and Remy and Pippa!) managed to have the BEST time so I thought I’d share a few highlights from their short visit.

We didn’t have any solid plans for their trip. I was hoping they could help me take care of a few odd projects around the house. Nothing major. They’re just so good at organizing and making spaces more functional. They’ve lived in four homes in the past six years and each has been flawless, so I figured they could offer some advice.

Well, before I knew it they were measuring things, making lists, and pulling items out of kitchen cabinets. I realized I hadn’t made any major updates to my kitchen since we moved into our home over a year ago. But this week I learned that as time goes by, it’s great to reevaluate how you can make your spaces work even better for you. Armed with our lists and measuring tape, we headed out the door.

First, we needed sustenance so I took my parents to one of my favorite places in Chicago: Protein Bar. You guys, I’m obsessed. I go at least once a week. I just can’t get enough so I had to share the goodness with them. They loved it too! And then we took a selfie.

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Next, we hit up Bed Bath & Beyond and The Container Store. Do we know how to have a good time or what? The truth is, my parents make everything fun–even tedious tasks like running errands. Finally, we went to Whole Foods and picked up ingredients to cook for dinner. And gelato.

Back at the homestead THIS happened. It may look completely discombobulated to you, but to me it says progress. We (okay my mom, mostly) reorganized the kitchen so everything is a heck of a lot easier to grab when we need it. She also scrubbed shelves and pots and pans that had been somewhat neglected (oops) and taught me how to do this kind of stuff properly. Looks like I still have a lot of learning to do.

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One of the updates I’m most excited about is absolutely ridiculous. I finally got a Simple Human trashcan. Besides its functionality and sleek design, here’s why I love it: It meant we could move the trash out from under the sink, which allowed us to move the recycling bin from the pantry to the sink, and the dog food, which was awkwardly placed in a tiny utility closet, to the floor of the pantry. I also got new containers for their food that are so much easier to access. Feeding time at the Fowler Zoo is now so much faster and easier. I realize how absurdly boring all of this sounds, yet I learned a lot this week about carefully considering how your spaces work for you. If you can move things around or find an item that makes your life just a little bit easier, it makes a world of difference for everyday tasks.

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Pippa approves (and she loves my parents, too).

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While my mom continued her cleaning and organizing mission (gah, she’s the best!) my dad got started on dinner.

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On the menu: homemade shrimp cocktail and cocktail sauce.

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Grilled BBQ pork chops and corn (wrapped in foil with butter, salt, and pepper and then grilled and omg it’s insane). I made a salad.

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And finally, pie from Bang Bang Pie. Two slices of Key Lime, Peanut Butter Vengeance, and Mixed Berry Plum. It was sooo good.

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Wednesday, we continued our errand/home improvement spree with stops at Target and Home Depot. It seems silly that we’d spend our short time together doing this kind of stuff instead of, say, bopping around downtown. But to me, there’s something pretty special about doing completely ordinary things when my family is here. It makes them feel more like family than guests. This is the kind of priceless stuff they’d occasionally help with if we lived closer together. So we just packed it into a few short days.

Plus, I’ve spent my whole life witnessing my parents build an awesome home for my sister and me. I love that Robert and I get to do that now, but I still have a lot of learning and growing to do. It’s a process. Although at this stage of life my parents feel like friends (they’re my favorite people to hang out with), I also love that they were able to visit and Mom and Dad me for a few days.

After way too short a visit, Wednesday afternoon they were off and I was so sad to see them go. I get teary any time I leave them or they leave me. I love living in Chicago and know it’s where we belong right now, but living so far away from my family is the pits. I hope the distance doesn’t last forever. I’m so grateful I got to spend a few days hanging out with the coolest people I know. They never cease to amaze me with their knowledge, experience, and ability to turn what may seem like dull tasks into the happiest memories. Thanks Mom and Dad!