What Should I Be For Halloween 2014? Cast Your Vote!

You heard me! What should I be for Halloween 2014? Help me decide by casting your vote below.

I've been researching and thinking over lots of of options for Halloween 2014. In a costume I want to go for something cool (obviously), but also easy to wear all night, more or less comfortable, and easy to throw together or DIY on the cheap! I feel like most of these options would fit the bill.

It's so nice to feel like I'm past the stage of wanting or feeling all costumes have to fit the "sexy" bill. Is that maturity? Haha.

To help me out and to see what costume ideas I've narrowed it down to you can CLICK HERE, or scroll down to the embedded window below. Also, if you have an awesome idea, I have the option to suggest a costume in the poll as well. It will take literally 30 seconds and having your feedback will give me a good direction as to where I should focus my sights for the next week as I gather up or DIY pieces of my overall costume.

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Easy Apple Crisp Recipe

Apples have been on my brain lately because when my mind thinks about fall it immediately goes back to days in the kitchen spent with my mother. We'd throw open the windows, clean, and decorate the house. She'd light a candle that smelt like apple pie straight from the oven and we'd let the crisp fall day fill up our home. There's an inexplicable perfectness to days like those in my mind.

Inspired by those days and houses that smell like cinnamon and apple desserts, I've been making apple everything. I've made baked apples in tin foil, apple pies, cobblers, and crisps. This apple crisp has been my latest foray into apple related baking and the results were pretty yummy. So, I thought I'd share my process here with you (adapted and inspired from a combination of this recipe and this recipe)! Excited? Me too!

You'll need:
For the Filling:
5 medium (or 6 smaller) Granny Smith Apples
1+ cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup (or 1 stick) butter
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp bourbon (optional, but encouraged)

For the Topping:
1 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 cup quick oats / plain oats
1 cup brown sugar 
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup (or 1 stick) butter

First off, you're going to need to set to work peeling those apples (either via peeler or paring knife). This is not necessarily a quick task, but it can be really perfect for a day when you have plenty of time on your hands. I love getting my apples, a bowl for the skin, and setting up shop in front of Netflix on my laptop. It's practically therapeutic and gives my hands a mindless, yet rewarding task, to concentrate on.

After you've got your apples peeled, it's time to core and then slice them! Cut away the four sides of the apples, avoiding the core. Toss the core in the trash once it's singled out. Take the rest of the remaining apple and slice thinly. Repeat on all of your apples and compile slices into a large bowl.

In the bowl add your 1+ cups of flour. I say 1+, because I'll leave it up to you to decide the right amount to thoroughly coat your apples. 1 to 1 1/2 will cups will usually do it for me. I've done versions of the recipe where I've measured everything out stickler style and other times where I've just sort of eye balled it. As long as your apples have a nice even coating, you're good!

Then add in your brown sugar, sugar, and cinnamon. I also tend to eyeball my cinnamon contribution, adding more or less as I see fit. Don't be afraid to play with quantities slightly to accommodate your taste or just coating the amount of apples you have to your liking. 

Mix/toss dry ingredient to coat.

In in a skillet on the stove, turned to the medium setting, add your stick of butter. The butter will  melt and begin to foam. Stir almost continuously through this process (which should only last a matter of minutes - if it seems like it's taking a long time, up the heat slightly). The butter will then begin to turn from yellow to brown in a noticeable way. Once the butter is browned, that's when it is done. Some people describe the butter as having a nutty aroma in the brown stage (though I've never particularly smelt it). Transfer the browned butter from the skillet to your bowl of apples.

Add in your bourbon  to the mixture (I happened to have an airplane sized bottle of Jack Daniels on hand that sufficed) and combine the wet ingredients with the dry until all of the apples are coated evenly and entirely. Adjust mixture slightly if needed (i.e. - adding a little extra sugar or cinnamon).

In the end, it should look something like the picture below!

Next up, grease the pan you plan to bake in. A 9x9in square pan (pictured) works great for this! Add in the apple filling mixture, spreading it out evenly in the pan. 

If you're like me, you're going to have to resist eating the apples right then and there. It's okay to sneak a bite.

Now it's time to get down to making the "crisp" part of the apple crisp! Yay! For the crisp, start by adding your 1 and 1/2 cup of plain oats (sometimes called "quick oats") to a bowl. I thought 1 cup would be enough originally, but I ended up adding more oats in order to stretch the topping. If you feel like 1 cup would be enough, great, but I'm recommending slightly more!

Combine the flour, brown sugar, and sugar with the oats. Add in the stick of butter (not melted or softened, but cold). Use clean hands to combine the butter with the oat mixture, until the entire mixture has a coarse / crumbled look to it.

Once combined, spread the crumble mixture over the apple filling in the pan. Spread evenly and press down into the pan. It should look somewhat like the above picture.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake for 45-55 mins. You'll know it's done when the top of the crisp is golden brown and the inside is warm and gooey. I checked on mine at 45 mins and it looked more or less done, but I thought it could go a little longer and be okay. I let it go until 55 mins. The edges were a little crispier, but overall the entire crisp was unharmed. If I were to do it again, I'd pull it out at 50 mins time for a nice medium.

There you go - you're all done! 

Feel free to serve with vanilla ice-cream for the perfect compliment/extra indulgent experience. The crispiness of the topping compared to the gooey, sweet middle is sensational. It's perfect served after dinner. If you have leftovers (like I did), it's also really easy to throw it in the microwave and have it for breakfast the next day (pictured above). It's still totally yummy!

I served this to my guy friends (who've also sampled the rest of my apple related baked goods) and they gave me two thumbs up on this one for the topping and clever use of bourbon. 

Please let me know if you give this a try. I know that if I can pull this off, you certainly can!


So tell me, have you made anything good late;y? If so, what was it and can you point me in the direction of a recipe?!

7 Things I Know To Be True When You Suffer From RBF

(Don't worry I'm actually feeling how the last picture looks the entire time!)

RBF - Resting Bitch Face (Defined Here & Here)
  • People may think you detest them even if you don't: I've been told at least once jokingly that I had a permanent stamp that reads "F off!" on my face. That stamp doesn't make too kindly for drawing in new friends and often people perceive that I'm pissed off about something. Yikes. Once, in Jr. High, a girl in one of my classes came up to one of my best friends and said that she knew I absolutely hated her. Funny thing was, I barely even had an opinion of said girl in class. I knew her and spent little to no time thinking of her. Why would she think I actively hated her? I wanted to know. So my best friend inquired further. The girl said that a few days prior in the hall I had given her a look. Apparently, it was a pretty mean one if she thought I hated her. I remember passing said girl in the hall, but genuinely from my side, I gave her no "look". In my head it was brief second in time that was inconsequential and entirely unfueled by hate or malice. Apparently, I was wrong. News of my bitchy look made it's rounds and said girl despised me until graduation (and maybe even now?).

    This was my first encounter of someone pointing out my RBF and it's made me entirely too self conscious of my face when walking around campus or stores. If I really like someone and want to be friends I try extra hard to dial down the RBF where and when I can. However, not everyone is worth that kind of time. You'll never be able to please everyone. This being said, people on the bus will just have to deal with my RBF.
  • People may think you are stuck up: I didn't realize that anyone could believe I, of all people, was stuck up...that is until high school happened. A boy I liked finally got grouped with me in a project setting and I was beyond thrilled because we were finally going to get to know each other properly. It was during this 'get-to-know-you' session that he casually said to me, "So, Ashlee, you're like really rich right?" I nearly laughed out loud as I responded, "No! Why would you think that?" It wasn't that I was poor or anything, but really rich? It was such an absurd thing to blindly say to me. It turns out that he'd heard it through the grapevine. People thought that because I was usually quiet, noticeably smart, and apparently had RBF that I had no interest in making friends with the common plebeians of our high school. They figured I had to be really rich to be so stuck-up. It suddenly came to my attention that I had been written off as "stuck-up" for longer than I'd realized and most people were surprised upon talking to me how friendly I could be. Needless to say, that was an awkward realization. My RBF struck again.

  • As a result of the above people will find it hard to approach you: No one wants to approach a lion when it's teeth are bared and it's pacing back and forth, hungry for meat. People want to approach the little lion cub being bottle fed by some zoo handler in the corner (me included). So, don't be surprised if people find you to be intimidating or hard to approach. If you give them no other reason to fear making your acquaintance besides the natural setting of your face, then screw those people honestly. Friends worth having will approach you no matter what, even if it takes a few seconds of steeling beforehand.

  • Conversely some people will never leave you alone because they are constantly try to get you to smile or laugh for them: These people can be somewhat annoying or somewhat appreciated depending on the depth of their acquaintance to you. Sometimes it is nice to be encouraged in a positive way to smile/laugh/just generally be happy. Just remember that you don't owe anyone anything. Don't feel forced into smiling or laughing unless you want to. Painting a smile on your face for the benefit of someone else will never lead to your own happiness.

  • They may even say the magic phrases, "why don't you smile more?" / "what's wrong with you?": Again, you don't owe anyone an explanation. If something really is bothering you and you're feeling up to it, then by all means go ahead and divulge. If someone says that ish to you and you're feeling perfectly magical on the inside, make it known! I tend to answer these phrases with a heavy dose of sarcasm, but you should probably do as say and not as I do regarding this one.

  • It's hard to pull off a neutral, content face in photos and IRL: I know this from experience. See all of those attempts up there? I was going for wistfully neutral and I got...well...RBF. It's okay. Learn to love your face and all it's shapes and forms. Don't worry yourself over how your face is looking while walking down the street or to class (I do this more often than not). Embrace it. Just because society expects the convention of a smile, doesn't mean you're always required to give one.

  • Just because you suffer from RBF doesn't mean you're a grouch, bitch, or in anyway less than content with your life/day/world/whatever: Because even if the world can't tell you're having the best day ever, you can. That's all the flipping matters. Right? Right.

Friday Link Love

By the time y'all read this post I'll be done with midterms and fall break will be about to commence. Let's celebrate with some awesome links from around the web, shall we?
  • This wall is inspiring me to do something similar, but temporary, in my own apartment! So cute and easy to personalize.
  • This Hocus Pocus drinking game made me laugh out loud. Adding this to our friendship road trip Halloween weekend to-do list!
  • This quote print is perfection and needs to get in my apartment right now.
  • Definitely wanting to read Lena Dunham's new book, Not That Kind of Girl. In fact I stole a couple peaks of the first few chapters during my last visit to Barnes and Noble.
  • Here's a plethora of easy no-carve pumpkin ideas for those who don't feel like getting elbows deep in pumpkin guts this Halloween. Thanks ABM!
  • So obsessed with Tavi Gevinson on the cover of October's Nylon Magazine!
  • The Little Plum (an amazing English student style blogger) is now on Youtube being cuter / cooler than ever. I always leave her videos smiling.
  • Skittles infused vodka I've heard of, but Jolly Rancher infused vodka? This sounds like something I must try just out of childlike curiosity!
  • This recap of Blogshop's latest workshop in Brooklyn was just the eye candy I needed this week.

Hope y'all have a magical weekend!