October 12, 2016 | by Cyd Converse
I promised over the summer when I shared my grapefruit Moscow mule recipe that I was going hard on Moscow mules from basically now until eternity. I’m making good on my word today, with your new favorite drink of fall! An apple cider Moscow mule made with cinnamon sugar, fresh apple cider and ginger beer, of course. We’re officially at the point where we keep ginger beer stocked in the fridge at all times. Because you just never know. Maybe you come home from the cider mill with a jug of fresh cider and the mood strikes you to whip up something tasty and delicious. Maybe that happened to us the other day. Maybe I’m not going to judge you however and whenever you drink your mules. No judgement here, friends! Just be sure to give this one a try. You’ll be glad you did!
Apple Cider Moscow Mule
Makes 1 serving
- 2 oz vodka
- 3 oz ginger beer
- 3 oz fresh apple cider
- 1 tsp cinnamon sugar
- 2 or 3 apple slices
- Cinnamon stick (optional)
Place an apple slice or two in the bottom of a copper mug or cocktail glass. Sprinkle in the cinnamon sugar, then muddle with the back of a spoon. Fill the mug with ice, then pour in vodka, ginger beer and apple cider. Gently stir to combine. Garnish with an additional apple slice and a cinnamon stick. Sip and enjoy!
[Art direction + styling by Cyd Converse | Photos by Alice G. Patterson for The Sweetest Occasion.]
October 11, 2016 | by Cyd Converse
One could make a pretty sound argument that this post was merely an excuse to play dress up with my kid. Not far off, friends, not far off. Since capsule wardrobing has become such a trend, I thought it would be fun to put together a fall baby capsule wardrobe for Em. We’ve basically reached the point going on a year later where we’ve worn through most of the clothing she received as gifts at my shower and when she was born, save for a few fancier party dresses. As I’ve been shopping for her I realized I’ve been shopping seasonally and effectively putting together mini capsule wardrobes, so I thought it would be fun to share some of the pieces I picked out for fall.
Folks, babies grow quickly. I categorically do not believe in having 27 pairs of pants in any given size, because they just outgrow things so incredibly fast. Instead, I’m choosing to focus on really cute, mix and match pieces she can wear for a season and get the most use out of every item as possible. Generally by the time the season changes, we’re onto the next size and if not, we just carry forward anything she can still wear. So, no, I’m not wastefully replenishing my kid’s wardrobe every season like some kind of diva. In fact, I could confidently hold my own in a debate that this is actually a really smart way to stretch your budget while decking your kid out in a killer wardrobe. Mix and match, friends, mix and match. Just say no to dedicated outfits that match nothing else.
For fall, I decided that the star of her wardrobe would be this great Army green parka. She gets so many compliments on it already and it’s a size that is going to allow her to wear it for several months. I love the pairing of pale pink with that green, so from there we picked out a few cute tops, jeggings and a little dress that all coordinate. Chambray and white round everything out for a little collection that even Daddy can figure out on his own. (Gosh, such a cliché, but seriously, Daddy needs all the help he can get.) Of course we still mix in other jeans and tops, but this allowed us to refresh her wardrobe with the sizes and seasonally appropriate pieces she needed in a way that didn’t require us to buy a bunch of must-wear-together outfits that couldn’t be worn any other way. Ain’t nobody got time for that. (And, hell, most of us ain’t trying to spend the money on that.)
My favorite part of this post? The obligatory overload of cute baby photos. The baby who is already ten and a half months, friends. Ten and a half months! Insanity. And if you wondered, yes, the first birthday party plans are officially underway as of this week. But more on that another day. In the meantime, if you needed a pick me up today with a cute baby fix, you’re welcome.
[Art direction + styling by Cyd Converse | Photos by Alice G. Patterson for The Sweetest Occasion.]
[1:Bow headwrap | 2: Poplin utility parka | 3: Mudcloth baby headband | 4: Patterned swing dress | 5: Chambray polka dot top | 6: Ivory jersey leggings | 7: Pink ballet slippers | 8: Metallic moccasins | 9: Fair isle joggers | 10: Chambray pocket shirt | 11: White embroidered lace top | 12: Rolled cuff jeggings | 13: Peter pan collar top.]
October 3, 2016 | by Cyd Converse
Since my first foray into making donuts this spring with vanilla bean cake donuts, which I doused in blueberry glaze, I decided I couldn’t let the ubiquitous pumpkin spice season pass me by without making another batch of donuts! Or, in this case, I made like three or four different versions of these donuts until I decided they were good enough to pass the test. And then, I decided because they originally called for so little butter, we should just make them vegan and tried that out a couple of times, too. So here’s the deal with these particular donuts. They’re exceptionally good. They’re best eaten the same day and precisely 0% of people are going to guess that they’re vegan. Oh, and unlike a lot of “pumpkin” spice concoctions, they do in fact contain pumpkin. They’re also pretty darn simple to make so if you haven’t yet gotten yourself a donut pan, I suggest this one. I coated them in cinnamon sugar because my favorite apple cider donuts from our local cider mill are covered in cinnamon sugar and if it ain’t broke don’t fix it! Skip the cinnamon sugar if you like a less sweet donut and serve ’em up with coffee for the perfect fall treat.
Pumpkin Spice Vegan Donuts with Cinnamon Sugar
Makes approximately 12 donut
- 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup brown sugar, packed
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 cup almond milk (or other non-dairy milk)
- 10 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
- 3/4 cup canned pumpkin
- 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 cup cinnamon sugar (2 tablespoons ground cinnamon to 1 cup of white sugar)
Preheat oven to 350°. Combine flour, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg in a medium mixing bowl. Whisk to combine. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the milk, brown sugar, 6 tablespoons of the coconut oil and pumpkin. Gently mix into the dry ingredients until just combined being sure not to over mix. Spray a donut pan generously with non-stick cooking spray, then spoon donut mixture into each ring until 3/4 of the way full. (Dough will be sticky and quite thick so use the back of your spoon to spread it around if need be.) Bake for 11 – 12 minutes or until donuts spring back to the touch. Remove to a wire rack to cool. While cooling, prep your cinnamon sugar and make sure the remaining 4 tablespoons of coconut oil are melted. Then, one by one, quickly dunk each donut in coconut oil and then toss in cinnamon sugar until well coated. Return to the wire rack and then eat as soon as possible but beware! One will definitely not be enough.
[Recipe + art direction by Cyd Converse | Photos by Alice G. Patterson for The Sweetest Occasion.]
September 29, 2016 | by Cyd Converse
I was 15 when I made my maiden voyage to Europe when we went over to visit my stepfather’s family in Germany. At the time, Nutella wasn’t available in the States and my first taste, spread onto crusty bread of some variety, was like heaven. For years, before it was widely available here, our family in Germany would smuggle it across the pond on visits or send over a shipment around Christmas, and my sister and I would hoard those precious jars like they were filled to the very top with pure, molten gold. So, as you can see, my love affair with Nutella is real and it is deep, which might explain why as the weather is getting colder and the sunshine less plentiful I am all about all the Nutella things. Today I’m dropping 12 out of this world Nutella recipes, right here, right now. You’re welcome. Or, I’m sorry. Whichever.
1. Nutella stuffed brown butter blondies
2. Nutella s’mores puff pastry pop tarts
3. Nutella crunch cake balls
4. Nutella swirl cupcakes
5. Nutella oatmeal cookie shake
6. Nutella swirled vanilla ice cream
7. Nutella truffles
8. Nutella fudge brownies
9. Nutella and smashed Oreo cookies
10. Nutella and brownie parfait
11. Nutella cookie ice cream sandwiches
12. Nutella cookie dough ice cream cake
September 28, 2016 | by Cyd Converse
[Lettering by Juliana Moore.]
I think the only right way to open this conversation is to say how deeply and completely I love our daughter. Lest anyone should come at this thinking that I’m being flippant or ungrateful, I assure you nothing could be farther from the truth. I have friends who are struggling to get pregnant. I have friends who have lost babies to miscarriage and pre-term labor. I have friends who struggled with infertility and years of IVF until their bodies gave up and begged for no more. I have friends and family who have lost children, including my own parents who buried my brother. I’m not making light of any of those situations and my heart breaks in each and every case. I am fully aware of how lucky I am that I seemingly got pregnant so easily and had a pretty incredible pregnancy without even so much as a lick of morning sickness. I am fully aware of how lucky I am to wake up every day to a remarkably beautiful, inquisitive, happy little baby who lights up every damn moment like the 4th of July. All of that said, I never planned to have a baby. Ever. And no matter how much I searched, I couldn’t find anyone talking openly from a position like mine when I discovered I was pregnant, so I’ve decided to go out on a limb and be that person.
p.s. I am writing this post because recently we talked about divorce, and I think we all agreed we should talk about these real life things more often. So, here goes nothing.