Trick or Treat: Caramel Apple Cocktails

Happy Halloween!

Things are a little different this year without the kids at home for this fun holiday. Trick or Treating went by the wayside years ago, but you’re never too old for a bonfire or holiday themed food with teenagers.

But here we are; our first empty nest Halloween!

And Audley and I plan to treat ourselves!

One of my favorite fall highlights is apple season. This year I didn’t get to pick my own, but I still made a trip up to my favorite north Alabama orchard with Momma. Crow Mountain really has the best apples!! It’s always fun to decide how to use them, and this year I changed it up from dessert to a delectable and over-21 grown-up Halloween treat ….

Caramel Apple Cocktails

The ingredient list is short: large apples (I love a Granny Smith) that you’ve hollowed into a “glass”, melted caramel to rim your apples, apple cider (try to find local), Crown Royal Vanilla, Ellington Reserve Salted Caramel Whisky (use airplane bottles), and brown sugar.

Wash and dry your apples, then slice the tops off and hollow out the inside of the apple. Don’t go all the way to the bottom or your cocktail “glass” will leak. I used a spoon for hollowing out the apple.

Rim the edge of your apple with melted caramel. Since you will be working around juicy apples, this works best when spooned around the edge. Sprinkle with brown sugar. Also sprinkle a little brown sugar inside the apple.

To mix the cocktail (for 2) heat 5 ounces of apple cider, then add 1.5 ounces of the caramel apple whisky, 1 ounce vanilla Crown, and stir. Pour into the apples you’ve made into glasses.

Pour into the apple glasses, garnish with a cinnamon stick and enjoy!

These take just a few minutes to prepare; keeping you in a Halloween frame of mind while toasting an empty nest!

And don’t waste your apple! When you’ve finished your drink, slice the apple to eat for a spiked caramel apple treat!

A Fall Bucket List

At last! Autumn has arrived, not only is it calendar official, but you can feel it in the air in the south! This is my favorite season and I’ve been rather impatient waiting on it to arrive this year.

Thanks to the coronapocalypse, fall is a little different this year. Audley and I are skipping football games and missing tailgating, there aren’t any county fairs or rodeos, among other things, but there is no reason to not enjoy it! We have a “bucket list” of things we are looking forward to do this season. It got me thinking Maybe I should share it in case you were at a loss of how to enjoy the season in this crazy time. Almost all of these keep social distancing guidelines in mind.

* Go for a sunrise canoe ride

* Light autumn scented candles all through the house

* Pick apples and make apple crisp

* Make all the soups

* Bake a pumpkin pie using fresh pumpkin

* Visit a pumpkin patch

* Take a drive & enjoy a little leaf peeping

* Light a fire and make s’mores

* Celebrate National Coffee day ( September 29)

* Go camping or glamping

*Watch fall & Halloween themed movies

* Carve a pumpkin

* Pull out the patchwork quilts & get cozy

* Enjoy a girl’s day or even road trip

* Take a leisurely bike ride on a scenic trail

* Drink apple cider

* Meet your spouse for a coffee date

* Decorate your porch just a little extra this year

* Star gaze

* Make & eat caramel apples

* Go hiking

* Visit Starbucks for at least one Pumpkin Spiced drink

* Plan an autumn picnic

* Run through the leaves

Being outdoors is very good for boosting your immunity system, so many of our plans involve fresh air and sunshine, even with a few cooler temperatures. Take advantage of this anytime you can in the coming months! It’ll keep your spirits up as well.

What’s on your bucket list this fall? I would love to hear what you’ve been up to!

The 25th Year

Last week we officially closed the door on the last 3 years of our life in Loganville as we dug up the hydrangea & locked the door.

Now as full empty-nesters Audley & I are finally under one roof (he’s been living in an apartment for 2 years instead of driving 150 miles round trip everyday for work) living on the west-side of Atlanta. This was the 15th move we’ve made in our 25 years of marriage, which we also celebrated last week.

This move was probably the most difficult and for sure the most stressful in the fact he & I did 90% of it alone between Audley’s work schedule, wedding planning for our youngest daughter, lots of uncertainty and a of course this pandemic.

2020 has been an interesting year to say the least.

While 2020 has been memorable in its own way, the beauty and nuttiness of the last 25 years mixed with the excitement of the next 25, definitely overshadow any craziness that this one year has thrown our way.

Audley and I have four amazing kids, & now three sons-in-law (so much has happened in the last 10 years while writing this blog) who are contributing so many beautiful and positive things to this world of ours. Police officers, medical personnel, minister, exercise specialist, preschool teacher, Marines (we have 2 now!); we have much to be proud of when looking at our kids.

Having an empty nest at the quarter century milestone is a whole new world for Audley and me.

We have never been “just the two of us”. I became a full-time mom the day we said “I do”. Being parents together for the entirety of our marriage has been a large part of our identity.

Now, with Madeline saying her “I do” last month the full-time parenting chapter of our story has closed! Now we get to write the next chapter as we discover new adventures together. I have no clue as to what the next 25+ years will look like for Audley and I, but can guarantee it will be filled with love, growth, discovery, new adventures and as always God-centered.

So cheers to the next 25 years and whatever adventures come our way!

A Girl’s Day & Honey Lavender Chicken

After months of being cooped up and feeling disconnected from friends and family, it’s wonderful to be somewhat social again! Earlier this week my sweet friend Tammie came over for some much needed girls time and chit chat. Keeping in touch by phone and text is one thing, but actual person to person conversations …. they can’t be beat!

Tammie and I both love to cook, so when we get together for lunch, we always try to come up with something delicious and different. We both have May birthdays, so we always try to get together, even though it’s a little later this year! Yesterday wasn’t any different. I set the table, planned out a yummy and seasonal menu that left us stuffed as we sat on the porch talking.

And we had so much to talk about.

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I wanted a menu that was local and seasonal as well as delicious. Hopefully that was accomplished! Lavender Honey Chicken sounds fancy, but honestly it was so easy!

For the dish you need a whole chicken (local and fresh is best), butter, dried lavender flowers (in season right now, so try out drying your own), fresh thyme, fresh rosemary, local honey, and balsamic vinegar.

You will prepare your chicken using butter, salt and pepper, then begin roasting in the oven at 375°. You’ll mix your lavender honey glaze using the remaining ingredients on the stove top and about 20 minutes into roasting you’ll baste the bird every 5 minutes or so until it’s cooked through. A thermometer should be at 165° when inserted by the bone.

I’ll have a link to the full, printable recipe below.

Serve with seasonal veggies for a lovely meal.

I roasted red potatoes with the chicken. I also added green beans, a salad made with fresh picked strawberries and Georgia pecans and rolls.

Here’s the full recipe for Lavender Honey Chicken

Tammie gifted me with a set of beautiful honey bee glasses from Williams Sonoma. They were a perfect finishing touch to our simply set table.

Tammie and I really enjoyed a beautiful afternoon. We had so much to catch up on, and yes, we talked about current events. You don’t see the world through one set of eyes, you have to open your heart and mind to see the world as others see it as well. You need to have empathy and understanding, not assumptions and judgement. Life is not the same for everyone. Our sons are the same age, but even with Bradley in the military I do not have the worry she does over her own son every single day.

Life should not be that way.

Politically I am more conservative than Tammie, but we don’t let that divide us either. It’s never affected our friendship and we talk about it, respecting each other’s opinions. We’ve known each other for so many years and I’m very thankful to have this beautiful, big-hearted soul as a dear friend!

I pray daily that compassion and understanding will replace anger and assumptions creating a more united humankind.

“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.”

John 15:12

Have a good weekend my friends.