Last year, I wrote a post including our seasonal Christmas favorites and it was fun! I'll do another one closer to Christmas, but for now, these are some of our favorite autumn things.
In the kitchen
Smoked Paprika (not to be confused with regular or Hungarian paprika). I originally bought it for use in Sweet Potato Shepherd's pie (a favorite) but lately, we've been loving it on our scrambled eggs + sea salt + freshly grated parmesan. The smoked paprika lends a woodsy flavor to the eggs. It's also good on any type of meat.
Cinnamon. Naturally. Original, right? But I've been adding it to everything, most notably, waffles, pancakes, brownies (just a teaspoon—please try this!), and on my plain yogurt.
Crockpot everything. My mom gave us this cookbook for our anniversary, and everything I've made from it so far has been good. Surprisingly, I haven't assembled a crockpot meal on a work day yet, since my morning routine before work is still in the works, so to speak. However, on my days off, particularly if I have several errands to run, I love the simplicity of a crockpot meal and a laid-back afternoon, since supper prep is already done.
Food birthday gifts. This year, I chose nice coffee and bar of direct-trade 70% dark chocolate from Askinosie. They are both treats that Nicholas and I can share and enjoy together.
A new mug from my in-laws. It has a pocket for your hand. It's the coziest.
Dayshift for me. Having the same schedule as Nicholas is a huge blessing. We wake up and have coffee and breakfast together, and we actually leave the apartment at the same time, because he leaves extra early to avoid traffic on his long commute downtown. Even more importantly, I always sleep at night, and for that, I just feel better.
I turned 25! Thank you to everyone who made me feel so loved on my birthday. Some of my favorite parts:
- My coworkers surprised me in the break room and brought me a cake!
- Supper out with friends at a new-to-us restaurant, which is now on our favorites list.
- Phone calls/texts/messages with birthday wishes from friends and family
- Nicholas gave me a few practical and pretty goods from Rifle Paper Co.
- I made my barely-sweet almond cake, and we ate it with my coffee the next day.
- A fun weekend visit from my father-in-law with hiking, barbecue, disc golfing, a trip to the movie theater to see The Martian, and spontaneous restaurant hopping just for dessert.
This Empty Northern Hemisphere by Gregory Alan Isakov. It's worth repeating again and again.
The Age of Adz and The Avalanche by Sufjan Stevens. There is never a season when I'm not listening to Sufjan, but these are the albums on repeat right now. If you're not a previous Sufjan fan, just know that nearly all of his albums have some songs that are more *ahem* ambient. I respect him for this, but those particular songs don't get as much play time around here.
Running. The weather is crisping up just a bit here in Austin and it's the motivation I needed to get outside and exercise. Mid-afternoons are balmy, but the mornings bring a cool reprieve. One of our local parks has lots of hills and twists and turns to its paths, which holds my attention for longer runs, too.
Sleeping (better) with the windows open. Lately, evenings are "nothing temperature" according to Nicholas. You walk outside and you're immediately comfortable with the temperature, not even the slightest bit hot or cold.
More porch time. We talk about anything and everything, or listen to our favorite funny radio show while I knit.
Hints of fall color. We still see a lot of green, but bits of the landscape allude to the change in weather.
In my hands
Knitting, always. I'm close to finishing my Briochealicious shawl. Next up, I'll start a project with some gorgeous yarn my mom sent me for my birthday and/or I'll start some Christmas gift knitting.
Sandalwood-Citrus body and room spray. I use this spray to freshen up the apartment, and sometimes on myself. It smells so good.
Sliced green apples with almond butter. This is my go-to mid-afternoon can't-make-it-to-supper snack.
The words of 1 John. I read through chapter 5 today, and I love how John reminds us that if we confess our sins and profess our faith and love of Christ, we have assurance of salvation. It's simple, and we can be confident in that. I can't place a shred of hope in what people think of me, the satisfaction of a completed to-do list, or a successful marriage. Usually, simple ideas stick with me better. So, I'll frame it like this:
My confidence comes only from Jesus & His saving grace.
I want to write those words on my heart, and praise Him for making glorious truths simple.
What are your autumn favorites this year?
I love baking. I truly do. The difference between a bad afternoon and a good one can be as simple as a baked good. I love the slow process, the premonition of preheating the oven, sometimes playing around with different flavors. My favorites are your typical "home bakes," nothing couture. Cakes, cookies, brownies, etc., are all my go-to baked goods to make in my own kitchen.
Some projects come along at just the right moment, and this shawl is one of them. After several rather hectic months, I wanted to get back into the rhythm of knitting, but wanted a fun, low-pressure, but still creatively inspiring project. I love knitting socks, but I wanted to knit something with more colorplay and this shawl was just the thing.
It's that time of the year when typically, as a born-and-raised Northerner, I'd be yearning for spring. That yearning isn't quite so pronounced here in Austin, but nonetheless, February is a month of almosts. Winter is almost over, spring is almost here, etc. And so it has been timely for me to indulge in a few self-care practices (and treats) while we're living in the almosts.