Wild Eats: Homemade Pumpkin Pasta

It's pumpkin season! Pumpkin lattes, pumpkin bread, pumpkin pasta...wait...PASTA? Yes, my friend. Pumpkin pasta. It's delicious, and surprisingly simple to make!

Here's what you'll need:

  • 3 cups of flour (i used whole wheat flour), plus a little extra for the rolling pin
  • 1 15oz can of pumpkin
  • Sea salt (for the water you cook the pasta in)

Here's what you do:

Pour the 3 cups of flour in a pile onto the center of a large cutting board. Make a hole in the center of the pile. Pour the pumpkin into the hole.

With your hands, mix the pumpkin and flour together until a stiff dough is formed. Then, divide the dough in half and set half aside, covering it with a clean towel so that it doesn't dry out.

Roll out the other half of dough so that it is super thin. Try to get it so that it is almost see-through...like...reeeaallly thin. Then, cut the rolled out dough into 1/4 inch wide strips. You can make the strips as long as you'd like your noodles to be.

Repeat with the other half of the dough.

Once you've cut your noodles, bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the noodles into the boiling water, a few at a time. Cook them for about 2-3 minutes. The noodles should float when they are ready.

Drain them, serve them up, and top them with your toppings of choice! I put a bit of butter and some grated Parmesan cheese on mine!

Enjoy!

Thankful

This is the BEST time of the year...amIright?!? Thanksgiving is less than two weeks away and then it's CHRISTMAS SEASON!! haha I can't wait for the holidays this year. It is going to be so much fun because it will be James' first time experiencing Thanksgiving dinner and then all of the beauty of Christmas! I realize he's still very little, but he is very aware of what's going on and he is just going to have so much fun - especially when all of the Christmas lights start popping up. He LOVES lights!

Anyways, as Thanksgiving approaches, I find myself in awe of how blessed my life is. I have SO much to be thankful for this year. I thought I'd go ahead and make a list of just a few of the things that I'm feeling really really thankful for at the moment:

  • my family
  • our home
  • ben's and my jobs
  • baby james
  • that i get to do parenthood with ben
  • my marriage
  • gunner (our dog) and rainy (my parents' dog) and the joy and companionship they bring to my life
  • my health and the health of my loved ones
  • that james and i both made it safely through that pregnancy and delivery
  • that i got to experience pregnancy and carrying a baby to full term and delivering him safely
  • that i live in a beautiful country where i'm free
  • that i get to stay home with my baby
  • that i have a strong, capable body
  • travel and all of the other exciting things in store for next year

As I said, just a few things. I could go on and on, because truly, I am so so fortunate. What are YOU feeling thankful for right now? I think it is such a great practice to write down what you are grateful for. Then, you can look at your list and visually see just how very very blessed you are! :)

Chunky Knits

Sweater: H&M (Only $19.99!!) // Boots: Target // Jeans: 7 For All Mankind // Bag: Kate Spade

There is nothing I love more than a big chunky, knit sweater. Make it a turtleneck and it's even better. There is just something so cozy about knitwear, isn't there? I'm loving the oversized slouchy look that is going on in the fashion world right now. This sweater from H&M is so comfortable, has that big knit look, AND it has a slouchy fit...win win win. Oh, AND IT'S ONLY $19.99 ... yes, you read that correctly.

When I saw the price I was a little hesitant because I was wondering what the quality would be like. But I was VERY pleasantly surprised when it arrived. It's very soft and well-made and I am massively in love with it! It is just the perfect piece for Fall and Winter. You can pair it with black jeans for a dressed up, office-casual look, or with blue jeans for a more laid back vibe. You can also pair this with a suede skirt and white sneakers (I love this skirt and these sneakers).

I will be wearing this sweater OFTEN in the months to come because it is just so comfortable and SO cute. It's got that effortless vibe, you know?

Have a great day!

xo, Anna

Pumpkin Patch

My outfit:

Boots: Hunter // Jeans: Mother // Sweater: Nordstrom

Last Friday we took James to the pumpkin patch! It was such a fun experience! James seemed thoroughly interested in all of the sights and sounds at the patch. We have been reading 'The Itsy Bitsy Pumpkin' a lot lately, and I've been talking to him about pumpkins and picking pumpkins at the pumpkin patch. So it was really fun to take him and to show him real life pumpkins!

Gunner was such a good boy and waited in the back of the truck for us. He loves James! It is the sweetest thing ever. When James cries, Gunner runs over and sits by him and seems so concerned. He always kisses James' feet and head, and tries to kiss his hands and face but we don't let him. He's a good good dog...the very best dog ever.

Anyways, we each picked a pumpkin (Ben's is more of a squash or something haha) and James's is an itsy bitsy pumpkin like in the book! I can't wait to continue having fun new experiences with James! It is so amazing to see him taking in the world and experiencing new things for the first time. I'm really looking forward to all of the holidays with him!

Have a great day!

xo, Anna

 

Fall Fly Fishing: Why You Should Do It and Some Tips For Success

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Many anglers make the mistake of thinking that once Fall comes around, it's time to store the fly rod and wait it out until Spring. Not true, my friend. Fall is actually an amazing time to hit the river. The scenery is beautiful, the rivers are lower and easier to wade, fish densities are up due to migratory trout, and there are - as previously referenced - fewer people out there to compete with over fishing room. With a good pair of waders and some trusty boots, all that's left is to bundle up and get out there.

Here are a few things to keep in mind while fly fishing in the Fall:

  • Trout Behavior. Several species of trout spawn in the Fall, and consequentially, they become much more territorial and aggressive than they are in the Summer. This can be a good thing for the Fall time angler. A lot of times in the Fall, fly fishermen will opt for streamers, as spawning trout are more likely to chase after and attack these types of flies because they simulate an intruder in the trout's territory. However, I am here to urge you to give dry flies a chance. Fishing with dry flies in the fall can be fruitful and rewarding. There are still hatches going on through September and October, and trout will feed readily on dry flies, if you play your cards right. Pay attention to the colors and patterns that you choose. Nymphs and streamers, though an easy way to ensure that you catch a fish, wont offer the thrill and challenge that a dry fly will. If you pay attention to water temperature and sunlight, it is still very possible to experience great fishing on dry flies throughout the Fall.
  • Stealth Is Important. In the Fall, the sun is a lot lower in the sky during the day which means longer shadows. As every angler knows, shadows can spell disaster when trying to pull one over on a trout. A longer shadow, combined with lower water levels means that it is much easier for trout to see you coming. And, if a trout sees you coming, that's it. Pay attention to where the sun is, and be mindful of your shadows and where they are being cast. Also, be sure that your clothing helps to camouflage you. Wearing neutral, autumn colors is a good idea. In other words, keep the neon in your closet.
  • Be Aware of Water Temperature. Typically, in the summer time, the best times of the day for fishing are the early morning and the evening. During the day, sunlight shines directly onto the water making it easier for fish to see you. Water temperatures get higher which causes the fish to get lazy, so it is generally agreed upon by anglers to be a good time to sit it out. But in the Fall, the opposite tends to be a good technique. Cooler water temperatures actually may result in the fish getting lethargic in the early morning and evening, and becoming more active mid-day when the temperatures rise a bit.

So, in case you needed any coaxing or motivation, there you have it! Fall is an excellent time to fly fish and it provides anglers like me who enjoy tactical fishing with even more elements to challenge our abilities.

Autumn Transitions

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Sometimes it seems like the end of summer comes so abruptly. One day you are wearing your cutoffs, summer dresses, and tank tops, and the very next day you are bundling up in wool sweaters and scarves. The arrival of Autumn can be sudden and extreme, and it can be hard to cope with the fact that it is now officially time to rotate out your wardrobe in preparation for the colder months ahead. Especially for the outdoor adventurer, the end of summer can be a somewhat gloomy prospect. It marks the end of carefree, dry, summer explorations, and promises less predictable and sometimes less pleasant weather that can tend to feel like it will inhibit all outside activities. But never fear! The arrival of Autumn does not need to mean the end of your adventures!

Here are some ways to help with your transition out of summer and into the colder weather that awaits us:

  • Beef Up Your Cold Weather Inventory! Just because the weather is turning, it doesn't mean that you can't get outside and have the time of your life. But it does mean that you need to make some changes to the gear you bring along. Take inventory of your cold weather gear. Make sure you have adequate rain accommodations, like waterproof clothing, gaiters, and shelter. Switch your light weight quilt out for your 0 degree sleeping bag. Stock up on a Merino Wool hat, base layers, and socks. And be sure to throw in hand warmers, instant coffee, and some Mountain House meals - because nothing beats a hot meal on a cold night in the backcountry. If done right, a cool Autumn night spent under the stars can be an unbeatable experience. The key is preparedness.
  • Commit To Your Adventures. The thing is, in the summer time it is easy to go camping on a whim, or throw your fly rod in the back seat and head out to the river for the day. The sun is shining, the weather is great, and the cold isn't a factor. As the seasons turn though, it can be harder to find the motivation to step into the river or head up into the mountains when it's chilly out. So, the solution is to make solid plans for your adventures, pack up all of your cold weather gear (that you have already taken inventory of and ensured that you have), and -this is the important part- DO IT! Just do it. No excuses. A little cold is certainly worth the memories you will make. Mark your adventures on your calendar so that it is harder for you to back out. Commit to getting outside, even in the colder months. As long as you have the right gear, you will be comfortable and have a great time.
  • Find Motivation In the Season. Autumn can be one of the most beautiful times of the year to get out into nature. With the changing colors and crisp, clear air, you will find scenery that you wont get in the Summer. Autumn is an excellent time to hit the river for fly fishing. Don't let yourself be fooled into thinking that with the end of Summer, it is time to store your fly rod. The view from the middle of a river surrounded by yellow Aspens is something that you just have to see to believe. And you wont see it if you don't get out there. So find motivation in those seasonal sights and go explore!

Don't let the cooler days get you down. Prepare, plan, and then go have some bright, fall-colored, brisk, cool-weather adventures!

Wild Eats: Mountain Man Chili Recipe

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The weather is turning. The days are getting shorter and the air is getting colder. Fall is in full swing and that means less time out camping in the wilderness and more time holed up at home with a fire blazing in the fire place and cuddling in lots of cozy, warm blankets.

I love fall. The world is transformed with bright colors and crisp air. With the changing of the weather, I have been craving something hearty and hot and Mountain Man Chili is just the thing to hit the spot!

My mom and I perfected this recipe and it is hubby approved! Here's how to make a big batch of this hot, savory goodness:

Ingredients:

3-4 lbs of ground beef (or ground bison for you extra wild folks)

2 cloves of garlic, chopped

Two 15oz cans of tomato sauce

1/3 green bell pepper, chopped

3/4 yellow onion, chopped

4 tablespoons chili powder

2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons oregano

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

One 15 oz can of kidney beans, drained and rinsed

One 15 oz can of pinto beans, drained and rinsed

Top with shredded cheddar cheese, chopped onions, and fresh lime juice.

Directions:

Brown the ground beef (or bison) in a large pan with the chopped garlic cloves. Once the meat is brown, dump it into a large, deep pot and add in the tomato sauce, green pepper, onion, chili powder, cumin, cayenne pepper, salt, and oregano. Mix well, cover the pot, and simmer over low heat for one hour, stirring occasionally. Add 1/2 cup of water as needed if the mixture gets too dry. After one hour, add in the kidney beans and the pinto beans. Stir well to mix the beans in. Then cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Serve hot. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese and chopped onions, and squeeze a little fresh lime juice on top. Enjoy!