fall

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[9.14]

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I just love a crisp, early morning at the Green City Market. Farmers from all over the Midwest gather in Chicago to sell their vittles to city dwellers eager for a taste of the country. The smell of coffee and something like cinnamon waft through the air as a cool breeze whips against your cheeks, reddening them. You go from booth to booth picking up the bulbous onions, impossibly red tomatoes, aromatic herbs, feeling their weight, soaking in their raw beauty – all while speaking with each colorful vender and listening to their stories.

I got some really good stuff. Time for a little show and tell.

[a rosemary plant freshens up my windowsill]

[some shrooms still on the stalk]

i completely forgot what these were by the time i got home. thai eggplants! thank you google.

another one of these fellas. going to slice a handful, sprinkle them with sea salt & cracked black pepper and oven roast them for dinner tonight. interested to see if they taste like the eggplant i’m used to.

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We’ve been so very lucky with the weather this fall. It’s been wonderful to stroll outside and soak it in, all while fending off the impending doom of winter for another day. We’ve had an October full of gorgeous, bright, sunny days with just the right amount of chill in the air. For the first time in as long as I can remember, I won’t have to bundle up for Halloween festivities. Temperature for Saturday looks like highs in the low 60s and partly sunny, perfect for a night out on the town.

I love the bright bursts of color dotted throughout the trees in my hometown. The country air is sweet and the storybook views are breathtaking.

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I’m so not a morning person. It’s a constant battle for me to get out of my comfy, warm bed in the wee hours… I’m always craving just five more minutes. I wish I could be more like my dad. He practically tap dances out of bed and bounds down to the kitchen for his breakfast [I wouldn't be surprised if he slid down the banister on the way]. We are polar opposites on the morning person spectrum. He is the lovable, slap-happy, on cloud-9 type, whereas I’m more of the grumbling, eyes glazed over, running into the doorway, living dead type.

That being said, I think there is hope for me. There are some mornings when I’m actually excited to leave my bed, and this was one of those mornings. Around 7 AM [!!] before my workday began, I resisted the urge to crawl back into bed and, instead, headed to the Green City Market.

The Green City Market [on the south end of Lincoln Park] is one of many perks of living in the city. I love being able to hop on a bus and ten short minutes later arrive at a bustling tented village teeming with families, farmers, chefs, and delicious offerings. Everywhere you look there is something tasty: baskets overflowing with delicious, crisp apples – quarts of bright, juicy tomatoes. There are stands where you can buy fresh maple crepes and cinnamon apple tartlets. You also never know who you may run into – a number of Chicago’s famous chefs [like Stephanie Izard of Girl and the Goat] love to stock up on seasonal goods for their restaurants at this very market.

Breakfast shown below, an apple-cheese danish from Bennison’s [plus a sprig of rosemary on top] with some cranberries.

Not quite a morning person yet, but I’m getting there.

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1. sequin studio sweatshirt $168 in heather stone [my wardrobe-go-to, the sweatshirt, all dressed up!]

2. wool bell skirt $79.50 in henna [this feminine skirt is flirty yet office-appropriate. i love the unique silhouette and unexpected pop of color.]

3. alecia suede platform peep toes [was $265] now $198 inĀ  pumice stone [i've had my eye on these since their debut several months ago - gorgeous]

4. braided chain-and-pearl necklace $118 [i never spend this much on costume jewelry but this is just too pretty to ignore]

Oh no, they’ve gone and done it again. If you’ve haven’t checked out the J.Crew Fall 2010 collection yet, go go go. I’m absolutely smitten and want every.single.thing [a girl can dream...].

If there’s one thing J.Crew does well, it’s make high-quality essential pieces that stand the test of time. Their collections consistently range from super affordable [$10 cotton tanks] to obscenely luxurious [$1,200 wool poncho - yikes] but there’s a sweet spot for everyone, no matter how much, or little, extra moola you have to spend. This fall I’ll be doing lots more browsing than buying but it’s still fun to window shop!

[bonus: 20% off women's apparel orders of $150+. use code shopfall.]


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I love taking pictures. There is nothing better than having once-in-a-lifetime memories captured forever. I recently invested in a new camera and put it to work on my trip home this weekend. This will, without a doubt, become my new obsessive hobby [it already has].

By the way, fellow Chicagoans, if you’re on the market for a new camera or just want to poke around a camera shop, I highly recommend Wolf Camera at Clybourn + Sheffield. Ask for Josh M., he was so very helpful and honest. In a word, my experience was fantastic. I’ll be back for some of the [free!] classes that came with my camera purchase.

Here are some of my favorites:

[vintage dior blazer that my brother used to wear in middle school. it fits perfectly and is coming home with me. thanks evan!]

[brigham our trusty, cheese-loving chocolate lab]

[beautiful birthday cake a few days early]

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Perfection in a few words:

  • The delicious smell of a pot roast plugging away in the crock pot [recipe below]
  • The triumphant feeling of finding a pumpkin patch not too far from Chicago [Bengston's is only an hour drive... totally worth it] – I had to post some photos from our outing:

who doesn't love a good goat on a roof sighting?

bengston's, our patch of choice, + the tiny head of my wonderful bf

  • Homemade salted caramel hot cocoa [recipe below]
  • A great glass [or two] of rich red wine
  • Going to a football game with a thick sweater and a cozy scarf wrapped around my neck
  • Taking a long walk with my mom while watching the leaves fall
  • Catching up on some good books indoors under a soft blanket
  • Hearty homemade chili in front of a roaring fire

What are your ideas of fall bliss?

my darling niece + her pumpkin

Easy-as-Pie Pot Roast for Two [+leftovers]

  • 2.5 lb. pot roast
  • 1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup [if possible get low-sodium, that makes it easier to control the sodium content in this dish as it's prone to over-saltiness]
  • 1 package of dry onion soup mix [ditto]
  • 1 can of diet coke [or use regular... diet was just what I had on hand]
  • 2 medium yellow onions
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • garlic powder
  • carrots [as much as you'd like]
  • mushrooms [ditto]

Rub roast with salt, pepper, and garlic powder [it's okay if roast is frozen]. Drizzle some olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Once oil is hot, drop in garlic cloves. After several minutes remove garlic cloves and add roast to pan. Sear on both sides.

While roast browns up, pour diet coke in crock pot. It sounds bizarre, but trust me this is the secret ingredient that no one, absolutely no one, will be able to put a finger on… I think the carbonation tenderizes the meat and the sweetness lends additional flavor. Okay now where were we - Line bottom of crock pot with onion slices, mushrooms, and carrots [I will say this is the first time I've used carrots and mushrooms in my pot roast recipe and they add such a depth of flavor - they're an absolute must from now on]. In a bowl, mix mushroom soup with onion soup mix. Remove roast from pan and coat in mushroom soup mixture. Place in crock pot with a layer of onions on top. Throw in garlic cloves and the rest of your mushrooms and carrots. Fill the [now empty] mushroom soup can with water and pour around roast.

Cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6-7 hours. Pour over brown rice or mashed potatoes and dig on in.

Homemade Salted Caramel Hot Cocoa

  • chewy caramel candies [2 per cup o'cocoa]
  • 2 cups milk [use your favorite kind of milk]
  • 1.5 tablespoons sugar
  • vanilla extract
  • handful milk chocolate chips
  • marshmallows
  • kosher salt

In a saute pan simmer milk, sugar, and dash of vanilla extract. Add chocolate chips, a couple marshmallows, and one piece of caramel, stir to melt all. In separate pan melt one piece of caramel with dash of water. Add to chocolate mixture. Pour into a nice, big mug and add a pinch of kosher salt on top. Yum!

Wishing you the coziest of fall nights,

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[ode to andrew]

Blogging is fun… unless your domain host is a royal mess [coughcoughFatCowcoughcough] and causes your site to crash on a whim for no apparent reason. It becomes exponentially frustrating when there is no foreseeable solution to the problem after emailing, live-chatting, and speaking with multiple customer service representatives to the point of stalking. Must… breathe…

That’s when having a tech-savvy brother really comes in handy. My brother Andrew single-handedly saved my sanity when he swooped in and, with a wave of his magic mouse, transferred me to a new host [who I absolutely love... bluehost I'm talking to you] and adeptly maneuvered through hopelessly confusing html-codes to ensure that, through it all, I would retain ownership of my precious domain navyandcream.com. It was like a busted up custody battle and thankfully, we came out on top. One victory for the little people!

Andrew, thank you for being my knight in shining C++ code.

My first ever post is dedicated to you.

[photo above was taken in positano along the amalfi coast on a family trip to italy. the four siblings from l to r: andrew, evan, jessica, + elizabeth.]

To family,

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