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Blog

The life and times of a wife, stay-at-home mom, and vivid dreamer! 

 

Currently Reading

Brittany Bradley

I must admit that I do not read as much as I'd like to, or used to! When I was commuting to the city everyday I would read at least 4 new books in a month - it was the only way to get through over an hour of travel time on the subway everyday, and I really just thoroughly enjoy reading. I was in a book club for about a year but got unofficially kicked out when I couldn't make any of the meetings (ugh, I guess that is what happens when you have a baby right?) There is nothing like getting inspired by an author or getting caught up in a story! I recently have been forcing myself to put my phone down or put the laptop away and open a book. It takes me much longer to get through a book nowadays but at least I'm reading again right?! 

Here is a list of the books I've started in the past month or so... 

1. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo 

This is actually a book my husband picked up last month (I know what you are thinking... who's husband wants to read a book about decluttering? um mine does, isn't he dreamy?!) and I just picked it up last week and started the first chapter. Since we are making a big move this month into a house that is limited on space I thought this would be packing and moving inspiration - and  I also thought we could apply the advice to everyday life and our business in hopes to keep things running smoothly around here! 

2. The Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll

I bought this book this summer when we took a little family trip to the beach. I'm not sure what I was thinking but it didn't even leave my suitcase - vacation is oh so different with a little one! So far this book is your typical chick-lit but the main character has just enough crazy in her to keep me entertained. Hopefully I will finish it before they make the movie! 

3. The Happy Sleeper - The Science-Backed Guide to Helping Your Baby Get a Good Night's Sleep-Newborn t o School Age

Basically our 16 month old hates her crib and has taken over our bed. It is at the point where the crib is nothing but an oversized laundry basket. With a new baby on the way, the fact that our daughter swan dived out of the bed in the middle of the night last week (landing on a bunch of pillows, thank god) and I'm getting kicked all night by a baby on the inside and the outside, sleep training to the crib really needs to happen! I read the Easy Sleep Solution and tried it around 10 months and it just wasn't for us. My local Facebook Mom's group has praised this many times so I'm going to give it a try. It is still a "Cry-it-out" method but seems to be less scary for both parents and baby. Stay tuned for the outcome. 

4. Paper Towns by John Green 

This book kept popping up on my good reads suggested reading list and I enjoying his other book, The Fault in Our Stars, so I decided to give this one a go. I'm halfway through it and need to finish up so I can watch the movie on demand! John Green is an author who knows how to keep the reader intrigued and this particular story is very lively. Also, it kind of reminds me of being a high schooler again and how much you can dream up at that age! 

5. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt 

Ok, I'll be honest. I started this book almost 2 years ago and still have not read it in its entirety. Not only is it very long, it is the kind of book that you really have to pay attention to. I've decided I must read it before the end of the year and I'm also going to start from the very beginning. I may end up taking a page out of my husband's book (haha pun intended) and purchase it as audio book so I have something to listen to when I'm cleaning or running errands! 

To see other books I've read and what is on my reading list, follow me on Goodreads.com!  

Not Apple Pie

Brittany Bradley

We brought home a bucket full of red delicious apple from our trip to the orchard last week and they are super juicy and great for snacking but I wanted to make a few dishes while they were still fresh from the trees. I'm not craving sweets with this pregnancy so I wasn't quick to search for sugary deserts and apple pie recipes and instead made something that will actually get eaten in our house! 

I always grew up eating apple butter in the fall but have never tried to make it myself (why would I when you can pick in a nice little jar from the grocery store?!) Apple butter is most commonly spread on biscuits and toast for breakfast, but you can also use it in savory dishes such as pizzas and quesadillas! My batch actually turned out really good and made our apartment smell awesome while it was cooking! We are using up our jar at breakfast but plan on making a pizzas this week! 

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The second dish I made with our fresh apples was a sweeter take on chicken salad! I make chicken salad from leftover chicken quite often because it is a quick and easy lunch but I always add or take away ingredients depending on what is in the fridge that day. This particular time I used the following ingredients : grilled chicken, celery, onion, mayo, olive oil, salt & pepper, pecans, dried cranberries, and apples. My husband and I both agreed that this was the best one yet! 

Since I'm not much of a recipe follower, I'm not much of a recipe giver either - I think the best dishes alway turn out to be ones that you add your own personal touch to! 

Apple Butter 

Ingredients - 5 apples (peeled and chopped), 2 cups of water, 1 cup of brown sugar, cinnamon, pumpkin spice, 1 tsp vanilla extract, pinch of salt. 

Instructions - I used a ceramic pot on the stove top and first brought the apples and water to a boil. I let them boil for about 20 minutes on a high heat to let the apples soften faster. I then added the other ingredients and turned the heat on medium or another 20 minutes. After the apples were easily smashed with a fork, I poured the entire pot into a blender and blended until I achieved a smooth texture (basically I had apple sauce at this point.) I then poured the mixture back into the pot and put the heat on the lowest setting and let it simmer for a good 2 hours stirring about every 1/2 hour until the mixture darkened and thickened! When i achieved my desired texture, I took it off the heat and transferred to a jar and let it cool at room temperature for a bit before putting it in the refrigerator. I got about 1 & 1/2 cups of apple butter out of this recipe! 

Chicken Salad 

Ingredients: 3 grilled chicken breasts, 2 celery stalks, 1/4 of an onion, tbsp mayo, olive oil, salt & pepper, 1/2 cup pecans, 1/4 dried cranberries and 1 apple.

Instructions: I used a ninja blender to shred the meat, veggies, fruit and nuts before combining in a large bowl. You then add the mayo, olive oil (eyeball based on how dry the chicken is, you want the mixture to stick together) and salt & pepper. 

** You can cube the chicken and keep all of the other ingredients "chunky" for a thicker salad but I usually find that shredding the ingredients in a food processor helps blend the flavors really well so that you don't get a big bite of onion or celery! 

Fall Traditions

Brittany Bradley

Since living in New York City, we have been making a trip out to New Jersey every fall to visit a pumpkin patch and apple orchard. Battleview Orchards in Freehold, NJ  has a quaint little market that sells the most delicious apple cider donuts (the line usually wraps around the building, just for reference) and a large assortment of homemade pies! We always leave this place with a trunk full of goodness and some great pictures from their fields! 

This year we were very excited to take Charlotte since she is so active and aware of her surroundings. She ran through the apple orchard putting apples in the the bucket and dragging it around until it got too heavy! She was more interested in running around in the wide open space rather than seeing pumpkins but we all had so much fun! Being 7 months pregnant, I couldn't help but eat some of the fresh apples (the place smelled like heaven, who can blame me?)  and all in all it was a such a fun day. We brought home a big bag of red delicious apples that will surely get put to good use and also brought home a few pies and donuts for friends and family!