Friday, September 12, 2014

Pumpkin Cookies with Brown Butter Icing

So since it's fall (or at least I'm acting like it is), let's continue with all things fall-like (you can catch the first installment of this series here) and talk about food. Because one of the best ways to add some fall to your home is with baking, right? The smells and the taste of fall should be in our homes just as much as the look, am I not right? So food...cookies, to be precise. There are some favorite flavors that go along with fall, which include one of my favorite: pumpkin. And when you combine pumpkin with (another one of my favorites) brown butter, you, my friend, have an unstoppable combination.

Yes, I made those (yesterday). And yes, they're really good (and almost gone). Think super moist cake, like the kind that sticks a little bit to your fingers when you pick it up because it's so deliciously moist, and then add a carmel-y tasting glaze of sorts to the top. Yes, my friends, these cookies are delicious. And you should totally make them this weekend. You will be breakin' in this fall season like a champ and you'll, no doubt, be #1 in somebody's book.

So, here we go...let's break it down. First I sifted all my dry ingredients together. And little side note here: one time when I was growing up, my Mom thought it'd be fun to add a "secret ingredient" to her normally awesome-tasting chocolate chip cookies. Any guesses as to what that ingredient was? Hint: it goes along with this time of year...nutmeg. Yeah, I'm not quite sure what Trudy was thinking because to this day, I can't stand the taste of nutmeg. And it almost ruined chocolate chip cookies for me. Okay...fine, that could never happen. But yeah, nutmeg!?! So in pretty much all recipes I omit nutmeg altogether, but feel free to throw it in this just won't see me using the stuff!

Then I creamed my butter, sugar, eggs, etc. I added some yogurt to the mix for some added moisture. 

I made these guys on the larger side, because that's how we roll. I flattened them out a bit on top with the back of a spoon.

They turned out like this. Perfect for slathering icing on top.

The icing...oh the icing! Butter takes on a whole new flavor when you brown has a caramel taste to it that's amazing. So this icing recipe is pretty much the same as a traditional butter icing recipe (as far as ingredients go), with the exception of browning the butter. I added some vanilla to mine, but you probably wouldn't have to, since the butter has its own amazing flavor that really stands out.

Pumpkin Cookies with Brown Butter Icing
adapted from Martha Stewart

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg (if you so desire)
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup salted butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup sour cream or yogurt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin puree

Brown Butter Icing
4 cups powdered sugar
10 Tbsp salted butter, diced into 1" pieces
Half and half, as needed

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and salt, set aside. In the bowl an electric stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment and set on medium speed, whip together butter, light-brown sugar and granulated sugar until pale and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Add in eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition until combine. Mix in sour cream (or yogurt) and vanilla extract, then mix in pumpkin puree. With mixer set on low speed, slowly add dry ingredients and mix until combined (be sure to scrape down bowl throughout entire mixing process).
  • Scoop out cookie dough with cookie scoop, spacing cookies at least 1 inch apart. Bake in preheated oven about 12 minutes until tops spring back when touched. Allow to cool several minutes on baking sheet before transferring to a wire rack. Cool completely then prepare icing and spread icing over cookies. Store in an airtight container (I layered mine in the container by using parchment paper in between the layers, to prevent the icing from sticking to the other cookies).
  • Browned Butter Icing
  • Measure 4 cups of powdered sugar into a mixing bowl, set aside. Brown butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, swirling pan occasionally, until you see brown bits in it (or I just do the smell-test. You can tell when butter has browned; it has a distinct nutty smell to it). Carefully pour browned butter over powdered sugar in mixing bowl, use a rubber spatula to scrape any excess butter and browned bits from pan. Add half and half and mix on medium speed in a stand mixer until smooth. Spread over cookies, adding additional half and half, about 1-2 tsp at a time, to icing mixture to thin as it will thicken as it sits.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Falling for Fall

'Tis the season, folks. Fall is upon us and it just happens to be my favorite time of year. So I'm pumped. I'm ready to get my autumn on! So...what comes to your mind when you think of fall? Perhaps college football. That was always the case in my family growing up (Go Nittany Lions!) but alas, marrying a Canadian means you're pretty much into one sport: curling. Ha...just kidding...although curling is fun to watch, hockey is the sport of choice. Sure, Mitch likes following other sports too, but college football isn't one of them. My family keeps me up-to-date though with what's going on in the Big 10, so don't you worry. (I know you were really worried there...)

Fall is an exciting time of year for us Hertzlers. You see, all the boys' birthdays are this time of year. Sept, Oct, and Nov (and mine's in Dec), so it's a season of celebration for us. The cake requests have started coming in. Ry wants a Mario cake, Bryce wants a Minion one, and Finn will be happy with anything tractor-related. So yeah, it's the season for fat pants too.

As I do with each season, I have changed out some things in my home to reflect this glorious time of year. Packed away are the watery blues and greens that I love to surround myself with during the summer months and in comes texture and warmth, both literally (with throw blankets) and visually with warm wood tones. So as I'm in the process of switching things up here, I thought it'd be fun to do some posts showing you ways that I add fall into my house. So this will be a little series that will include decor-related stuff as well as recipes (hello, pumpkin anything!) plus we'll be showing you our latest DIY project--the painting/finishing of our deck all decked out (yep, pun intended) in fall splendidness.

Let's jump right in we're jumping into a huge pile o' leaves...

Here are some ways that I've added some fall into our living room.

1. Blankets/throws

Adding throws to a room automatically "warms" up the space and just makes it cozy-looking and inviting. Who wouldn't want to curl up on a chair and read a book blogs? (Let's be real here.) 

The past few years I've been collecting plaid throws to add to my collection whenever I'd see a nice one at a thrift store. So if you want to start your own collection, I recommend scouring second hand shops for them--they always have plenty!

Side note: my neighbor was giving away that blanket up there (it was in a "free" box by the side of the road that I had to peek into). It looked so seasonal, so I snagged it. One can never have too many throws! So, thanks, Marilyn;)

2. Pillows

Switching out pillows is an easy way to transition into seasons. For those (like me) who have a pillow fetish, it's pretty easy to build up a collection over time and change them out according to the season. A great way to do this (and not have stacks upon stacks of pillows shoved into your closets), is to initially buy good quality feather inserts, then collect pillow covers. I didn't go too crazy with pillows this time around...just pretty much added that tiger pillow 'cause it's fun, unexpected and  

3. Texture

I'm all about texture, whether it's in a basket, rug, art...wherever you can add texture, you're adding awesomeness (in my book, anyway). 

The antlers are no new thing here at the Hertzler house...I have these guys up all year long, but they especially look "in season" this time of year. A recent addition to our mantel is the canvas of our family. It's from Tiny Prints. The picture was taken last spring, but to me it looks fall-ish, so here it is. 

The "give thanks" sign I bought last week off a local lady. I love it. I painted the "5" sign on a piece of scrap barnwood Mitch had in his shop. Hertzler 5--that's us:) Do you see the texture in those pieces? The rusticness of the wood, chippiness of the paint, even the random pinecone all bring texture to the space. 

BTW, I love using natural elements inside. We've been known to collect rocks, sticks, shoot...even a root was dug up and is now in our living room. 

4. Flowers

Speaking of natural elements...

You can't ever go wrong with adding fresh flowers to brighten up a space. I picked up this beautiful bouquet at my discount grocery store yesterday for $2.99! can't pass up a deal like that. But even if you can't afford store-bought flowers, you can always bring in some from your garden (sunflowers are a great choice) or even break off a branch of colorful leaves from your maple really can use anything to add some color to your space.

So have you started making the switch over to fall yet? It's as easy as adding some throws, pillows, texture, and/or flowers in those rich fall-like colors. Have I mentioned how much I love this time of year...ahhh

Be sure to stay tuned as I bring more fall your way in the upcoming days!

To see my fall tour from last year go here
And from way back to 2010 here
Making the front of our house more fall-like here
And one more outdoor fall post here

And to stay connected in between posts, follow me on Instagram here.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Switchin' It Up...Again

Does this ever happen to you--you're walking around a yard sale, mindin' your own business, checking out random crap set up on rickety tables and then all of a sudden, you spot it--the piece of random crap that you need in your life at that very moment. And you think about where you could put this random piece of crap and the perfect spot pops into your head. It's just that you literally finished that area of your house like last week. And it looks good. Great, for that matter. Do you go ahead and buy that random piece of crap that brings you joy? Or do you pass and leave it for another crap-seeker to find? Well...can you guess what I did?

Yeah, some purchases are a no-brainer. I didn't even try to talk the seller down. I saw this metal filing cabinet and said, "Yep. That's mine. And it's going in my entry."

Let me jog your memory--this is what my entry looked like earlier Saturday morning, before the yard sale.

Cute, right? In absolutely no need whatsoever of a makeover.

But now, I think it looks even better. The filing cabinet/storage unit was a great size for our entry--I loved that it's taller than our old table, and has a ton of storage inside. (I can shove a lot of junk in those drawers!) I got the antique mirror at another yard sale on Sat too and I love how it meshes with the metal cabinet. I LOVE industrial pieces, but I like mixing them with wood pieces so as to not come across too industrial (i.e. cold). The warmth of the wood-framed mirror balances the "cold" of the cabinet and in my book that's a winning combination. 


I picked up this old phone at an auction last week. I had one exactly like it growing up in South Jersey so it brings back some good memories. I vividly remember calling my BFF Kelly Hamlet pretty much every day to see if she was done dinner yet and could come out and play. (I guess running across the street to ask her was out of the question! Ahh...sweet memories...)

So what did I do with the old set-up, you ask? Within a few minutes of removal, both the old mirror and green table were sold. And I made money on the whole thing! (I sold them on a Facebook group I'm a part of.) Out with the old and in with the...well, old! Old never looked so good;)

See more of our mudroom here.

In between posts, you can find me on Instagram, where I'm snapping pics of the latest yard sale crap I find. Come over and follow along!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Sittin' the Bench

Notice anything new up there?

Yep, that's right...the bench. That was yesterday's project. Do you remember what it used to look like?

Yeah, it was definitely time for a makeover.

(You can catch up here with my initial post on the bench.) I've had this puppy for almost a year now. It's been sitting downstairs in Mitch's workshop pretty much all that time, waiting for a makeover. We've been busy with other projects (like raising three little boys...sheesh, get off my back) but yesterday it was time to get off the bench (lame pun intended) and get this project crossed off the list.

It was a fairly straight-forward project. And since we've already tackled an upholstery job like this before, it went smoothly. It just took some time. I did most of the work during the day while the boys were fighting playing and we finished up later that night after they were in bed. I started by unscrewing the base from the top and I cut those strings there that held the tufted buttons in place. I didn't want to mess with those this time around.

Then I wrapped it in batting and fabric and stapled away. I didn't pull the fabric too tightly, since I didn't want my stripes all wonky. 

I was hoping that the legs were made of wood and not some sort of particle board, since I wanted them exposed and wanted to stain them. Score for solid wood legs! I don't show this part, but next I sanded and stained the legs with a gray-wash stain, just to give it a slight weathered appearance.

Since the legs were attached right to the side rails, I had Mitch cut some boards to size and we made an apron going around the bench (same thing we did to our other ottoman). Here I am wrapping the boards (just scrap pieces) with batting and fabric. This was probably the most challenging part (but still not hard), since we had to make sure the stripes matched up with the stripes on top. It seriously probably took like 2 extra minutes to make sure everything was lined up right.

First board done! By this point, I was so tired and wanted to throw in the towel, but Mitch encouraged me to finish strong. (I think that's exactly what he said, actually) So like a marathon runner, I dug deep and finished up my 26.2 bench like a champ, with Mitch's help, of course. (side note: this will be the only time the words marathon runner will be associated with me, just FYI.)

And here is Mitch attaching the skirt. He simply screwed it into the side boards.

This bench can be used so many different places, but I chose to stick it here at the dining room table (for now, anyway).

I even had the boys test it out. It's the perfect size. Fits perfectly between the two table legs and it's a great height too.

But alas, it's not staying at our table. Or our house, for that matter. I'm planning on selling it at a Vintage Sale that Mitch and I are a part of on Saturday. (If you're in the Lancaster County area, come check it out!) I'll do a post all about it later. You can read about last year's sale here.

So there ya have it...

After having several pieces professionally reupholstered lately (like here and here), it felt good to try my hand at it again. It's good practice too, since I'm planning on redoing our living room ottoman soon. #itneverends

to see how we made the dining room table go here
to see how we made that giant chalkboard go here
and to see how I made that awesome zucchini bread up there, go here
I think that's all for now... ;)

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Transformation Thursday

Remember this little ottoman I got for free from my neighbor?

Well it's undergone quite the little transformation. Check it out.

I sent this little guy along with my chairs to get reupholstered and after a few months of being away, I'm glad to say he's back where he belongs--looking better than ever.

Let me just tell ya...when we were planning out the layout of our bedroom, I didn't really think a sitting area was all that needed/useful. I mean, who actually gets to sit and relax in a chair in their bedroom? Well I must admit, I love this area. I seriously use it every day. It's the perfect place to catch up on emails, work on blog posts, play Candy Crush, read books to the boys, etc. Get this--Mitch and I even sometimes have conversations here. I know--crazy, right?! Since we had all this extra space in our bedroom, it only made sense to make the best use out of it. And a quaint little seating area fits the bill. (Plus the view out that bay window ain't too shabby either.)

I switched out the pillow covers for something a little more light & summery.

If you follow me on Facebook, you'll remember my recent thrifting purchase while we were away in the mountains--this huge 8x10 seagrass area rug (the one on the bottom). I had every intention of using it under our dining room table, but literally a few minutes after it was in place, Finn decided to chuck his bowl of cereal on the floor. I knew it wouldn't stay nice for very long under our table, so we moved it in here. Better safe than sorry. I just layered the existing rug on top (since seagrass isn't the comfiest rug to walk barefoot on...unless you want some serious exfoliation).

So there's a little transformation for ya on this Thursday. Hope you're having a great week!
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