Let There Be Light!

Our newly found motivation with household projects continues, which means my cooking has been made up of quick and easy meals and lots of leftovers. It’s a little sad for our bellies these past few weeks but so many things are getting accomplished in the house that I can hardly be upset. I promise to get back to cooking and sharing my recipes with you all soon but for now, let me show you our latest project and by our I really mean Eric’s because he did all the work while I handed him thing he asked for and paced around the kitchen.

Here’s the back story to this project. When we moved into our house four years ago, I liked the kitchen a lot. I was large, had a big island work space , a decent stove/oven with a flat top and a huge beautiful pantry, what more could a girl ask for? Unfortunately, my tastes were not the same as the previous owners and I quickly got to work painting the walls and trim. A few years later, painting the cabinets white followed and for the last year we’ve been searching for a new light fixture. I wanted something that would open the space up and something that emulated the style of the kitchen I was hoping for and not the previous owners’ kitchen. We found a really nice glass jar chandelier from West Elm around Christmas time and I began stalking West Elm for it to go on sale. Of course when you’re waiting for a sale, it seems to take forever and I think every other category on their website went on sale except for lighting. Finally, in May I got the email that they were offering 20% off all lighting and made my move. I ordered one chandelier for the kitchen and one pedant light for over the sink.

The chandelier was back ordered and didn’t arrive until the end of June. Eric was traveling for work for 3 weeks and we finally got some time 2 weeks ago to put up the large chandelier. It ended up being a pretty simple switcheroo, the old light fixture for the new one. After some aggravated words, turning on and off the power several times and a trip to the hardware store, things were looking nice and bright in our kitchen. We went from this:

Don’t you feel like that one is really heavy and large for the space? I also feel like it should be over a pool table, not a kitchen island. Here is the new light:

I love it so much more! It makes the whole kitchen feel lighter and brighter.

Next, Eric started on the area above the sink, you can see it in the above photo with the wood over top of the curtain. Eric took down the wood, went into the wall, moved the electrical wiring and the light box into the ceiling, installed the new light, re-hung the trim on the cabinets, patched the wall and then painted everything. Now it looks like this:

Didn’t he do an amazing job? It looks like it was always like this. Here’s the full effect in the kitchen with both new lights:

And just for fun, lets take a look at the kitchen when we moved in:

And now:

We keep hanging out in the kitchen now because we love it so much and I just go and and flick the lights on an off sometimes to gaze upon their beauty. What do you guys think, is this an improvement? Have you replaced lighting in your house and loved the results?

Pumpkin Cookies

In the spirit of the season and the spirit of all things pumpkin, I’m about to give you the best cookie recipe on the planet. I’m not kidding, these are seriously the best cookies I’ve ever eaten. Most people hear pumpkin cookies and don’t think much of them but one bite into these and your mouth is filled with the soft sweetness of pumpkin, nutmeg, cinnamon and icing packed into a soft and delicious cookie. Every time I make them for people I get asked for the recipe.

These cookies were a special treat that my mom made around the Fall and Christmas time each year growing up. As soon as we felt the first chilly winds of Fall, we would start asking for pumpkin cookies. My favorite pumpkin cookie story happened a few years ago. Eric had been working at his company for just over a year and I decided to make a batch of cookies around Christmas time for him to share at the office. As you will see, this recipe makes ALOT of cookies. I think it may be triple the original recipe but that’s just a hunch. I sent almost a whole batch with Eric to work because his office isn’t small. Mid morning I received an email from him that all of the cookies were gone within the first hour of work and he was getting emails thanking him for the cookies and saying how good they were. I was surprised how quickly they were eaten, but happy that so many could enjoy them (including the CEO who stopped by Eric’s desk personally to thank him for the cookies, yep, I’ll do my part for his next promotion!). About two weeks later, his company held their annual holiday party. As Eric introduced me to some of his coworkers a common theme emerged, the cookies. Wives were asking me for the recipe and husbands were talking about how great the cookies were. Some of the wives even seemed a bit annoyed because their husbands would not stop talking about the cookies! I had no idea cookies could have such an effect. Needless to say, I now make an entire batch of pumpkin cookies each December for Eric to take to work.

The recipe is simple and starts with Crisco, alot of Crisco. Sidenote: do you buy Crisco in a tub or in sticks? My mom always bought the tub so I remember scooping it out of measuring cups as a kid, when I helped her bake, but I have since discovered the sticks. They’re just like butter and you can cut exactly the amount you need. I love them and I’m never going back to the tub. Plus the sticks take up much less room in the pantry, but I digress. Mix the Crisco and sugar in an electric stand mixer until light and fluffy.

Add in the eggs, one at a time, mixing well. Add in the vanilla and lastly the pumpkin puree. I choose to use my homemade pumpkin puree for this recipe, in the end I didn’t have quite enough of the puree for the recipe so I added about 1/4 of a can of the organic pumpkin puree. I can’t say I can taste a difference in the puree but I do know that the cookies tasted great, like always. I’d say the organic pumpkin is just the same as Libby’s, just more expensive because its organic. I’d use it again if I needed to.

In a separate bowl, mix together the dry ingredients.

Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix well scraping down the sides of the bowl.

Drop the cookies onto parchment lined baking sheets and bake for 12-14 minutes at 350 degrees.

While the cookies are cooling, mix up the glaze. It’s simply powdered sugar, a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg and add milk until its the right consistency. Add the milk 1 tablespoon at a time and if you add too much and the glaze is too thin, simply add some more powdered sugar to thicken it.

Dip the cookies into the glaze, allow excess to drip off and then let the glaze set for an hour or so before putting the cookies in their container.

My favorite snack combination is pumpkin cookies and cold apple cider. Nothing says Fall like that!

 

Here’s the recipe:

Pumpkin Cookies
Print
Author: Red Velvet
Prep time: 30 mins
Cook time: 15 mins
Total time: 45 mins
Serves: 10
Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cup shortening
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 can solid pumpkin
  • 5 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 4 teaspoons cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Cookie Recipe:
  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  3. Cream shortening and sugar until fluffy, with an electric mixer.
  4. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well.
  5. Add vanilla and mix well.
  6. Add in 1 can of pumpkin puree, mix well.
  7. In a medium size bowl mix together all dry ingredients. With the mixer on low, slowly add the entire flour mixture into the pumpkin mixture. Mix until thoroughly combined scraping down the sides of the mixing bowl.
  8. Drop cookies onto baking sheets. Bake for 12-15 minutes until just beginning to brown.
  9. Icing Recipe:
  10. Mix 2 cups of powdered sugar a dash of cinnamon and a dash of nutmeg.
  11. Add enough milk until desired thickness.
  12. Once cool, dip the top of the cookies into the icing and allow to set.