Spice Up Your Autumn Fare

Who’s excited for Autumn and just about everything that comes with it? I know we’re getting ahead of ourselves because its still 85 degrees out, but we just can’t contain our happiness. In preparation for our favorite time of year (sorry Summer fans) we have compiled a little something of our fall faves. Here are all the must tastes and sniffs to warm the home and your bellies this amazing season.



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Pumpkin Everything. The best part of the season is PUMPKIN. Sorry, not sorry to the pumpkin haters. To fully appreciate this Fall feature is to become as basic as possible and get a Pumpkin Spice Latte (#PSL). That is your first mission. Once accomplished you must make or eat pumpkin bread. Then to complete your experience you will partake in the consumption of pumpkin pie, while simultaneously, one of your middle-aged relatives burns a pumpkin scented candle or Scentsy. Side note: check out pumpkin flavored cream cheese. Bagels will cry with gratitude. You have not lived until these are done. That is all.



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Apple Cider. There is nothing more satisfying than having a hot cup of Apple Cider when it’s chilly out and you are sitting on your favorite porch chair. The great thing about it is that it is so easy to make and most of the time the ingredients are in your kitchen already. Take a crock pot, plug it in and put it on low, then put in apple juice, cloves, cinnamon sticks (or ground cinnamon if you have no sticks), nutmeg, and allspice. Add sliced oranges and apples for a fancy flair. This will make the home smell like a heavenly haven. If you’re feeling feisty you can slip a little bourbon in, but you didn’t hear it from me. Slow wink.



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Maple Pecan. Maybe pumpkin isn’t your jam, but who can resist Maple Pecan? That scent in the morning means one thing and one thing only. Pancakes. Not only does maple pair perfectly with pancakes but it’s also this season’s go-to for donuts, oatmeal, bacon, candy and dressings. It’s like a little black dress, it is appropriate for every occasion. Here is a little dish that I’ve been dreaming about since starting this post:

MAPLE PECAN BAKED BRIE

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 round (8 ounce) brie
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¾ cup chopped pecans

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Place brie in a small baking dish or pie plate and bake for about 15-20 minutes until warm.
  3. Meanwhile add sugar, maple syrup and cinnamon to a small saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until sugar dissolves and mixture just begins to boil.
  4. Immediately remove from heat and stir in pecans.
  5. Pour mixture over brie and serve warm.

 



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Savory Soups and Stews. Not going to lie: soups, stews and chili are my absolute weakness. Don’t tell anyone. I could be lured away easily with a promise of this savory concoction. They are not only scrumptious; they are the easiest dinner to make. Take any vegetables and ground or squared meat in the pantry, add spices then bang, you have an amazing dinner for the entire family. Then it becomes lunch and breakfast too after making such a large batch. A healthier version of traditional chili, but just as good:

Turkey Chili

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 medium yellow (or orange) bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 lb. raw 93% lean ground turkey
  • 1 (28-oz.) can chopped tomatoes
  • 2 cans (15-oz. each) kidney beans, rinsed, drained
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • ½ tsp. sea salt
  • Crushed red peppers (to taste; optional)
  • 12 Italian parsley sprigs, chopped

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.
2. Add onion and bell peppers; cook, stirring frequently, for 4 to 5 minutes, or until onion is soft.
3. Add turkey; cook for 4 to 5 minutes, or until turkey is browned
4. Add tomatoes, beans, chili powder, salt, and red peppers; cook, stirring frequently, for 10 to 15 minutes.
5. Divide chili into 6 serving bowls and garnish with parsley if desired.

 

Have we whetted your appetite for Autumn yet? Go indulge those senses.

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OKC’s Most Chill Treats

It is a typical summer day in Oklahoma. Over 90 degrees and the sun feels like it’s specifically hovering over you alone. Your air conditioner is acting like it has an upper respiratory issue by the way it’s wheezing and you may have a sun burn just by even thinking about stepping on your porch. It’s so hot out that your taste buds are sweating. Well sweat no more because we have a set of the coolest treats that melt in your mouth and chill your core.


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Raspado’s Hawaiian is a snow cone that will satisfy the sweet and sour side of you. These treats are all natural fruit flavors with over 40 options. This cup of heaven comes complete with actual chunks of fruit, chamoy syrup, and a tamarind candy covered straw, which are scientifically considered all the flavors of a flawless summer. If milkshakes are more of your taste style then order an obispos, which is shaved ice in choices of mango, strawberry, pineapple, and banana topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream to create a creamy dream.


MB_0050_17JulyB6-2-Trailer Trash Treatz

This one is a little off the beaten path, but if you’re a snow cone connoisseur then this will be just another glorious adventure that you can add to your Yelp review collection. Trailer Trash Treatz will surpass its name and your expectations.

Pick from almost 50 flavors of snow and order it “trashy” for an extra sweet surprise. Dig to the center of the cone to discover ice cream and a slice of cheesecake. Three, yes three, of America’s favorite desserts in one cup. With two locations in Yukon and Choctaw, this small chain is changing the way people think about cones of snow.


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Now you’re staring at your kids in envy with their trashy feasts and candied fruit cups. A dreaded four letter word is holding you back from tearing into one like a rabid polar bear…diet. Organic Squeeze has got your back. You can indulge without the guilt. They have made from scratch Squeeze Pops crafted with the finest organic ingredients. Enjoy unique flavors such as Orange Ginger Pineapple or Berry Cream made with Himalayan salt. Kids can also enjoy a healthy snack because when they complete the “no soda challenge” for one week they get a free Squeeze Pop. Double the yum for the price of one.


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It’s been a rough sweltering day, right? A little time out is in order. Sneak away to Revolución for an adult snow day that will make you feel like you’re in a winter wonderland for a minute. This boozy beverage is named a Cannonball and for good reason. It will blow away all your problems. A frozen margarita topped with a sangria snowball. Those red and greens are like Christmas in July.

Now go treat yourself.

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Incredible Scenic Hikes in Your State

Summer is finally here and you are ready to get out of the house and into the sun. These great hikes will exercise­ the mind and body in the midst of a gorgeous view right in your own state. Then after you have conquered the trail, you can brag to all your friends about how sore you are from hiking. How cool does that sound? They will be jealous of your tan line and all those artful Instagram posts.


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Photo by Mark Doiron

Wichita Mountain Wildlife Refuge: Located in Lawton, this refuge has over thirty miles of trail for you to explore. From flat lands to gently rolling mountains, you can dare to climb Mt. Scott (or drive up it if you’re feeling rebellious) or climb Mt. Baldy where the top looks similar to your great uncle’s head. Charon’s Gardens is an adventurous undertaking but the hidden waterfall is worth the hike. Don’t expect to cover it all in one day. There is plenty to discover from boulders and caves to gardens and wildlife. At the end of the day you can set up at Camp Doris for a cowboy campfire and then wake up to do it all over again. Just hope that a bison doesn’t block your trail. No, really.

 


MB_0033_17JuneB3-Ouachita_National_ForestOuachita National Forest: This forest is located on the border of Oklahoma and Arkansas covering 1.8 million acres. Its lush evergreens will make you pine for the simple life of cabins and dewy mornings. There is wonderful hiking in these forests or you can hit the trails with some horseback riding when your feet hurt. Drive down the Talimena Scenic Byway for breathtaking views and historical sites to feed the curious critter in you. It is also legend that Jesse James stashed his stolen treasure in the Winding Stair Mountains but was ambushed before he could return for it. This might be your luckiest hike yet.


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Roman Nose State Park: Named after a Cheyenne chief, this park was established in 1937 when Franklin Roosevelt created The New Deal. It was one of the originals out of seven parks founded in Oklahoma. The park contains moderate to easy trails, two lakes, mountain biking and canoeing that’s set inside the beautiful background of a canyon. You can hike along trickling streams, over wooden bridges and across a daunting dam. Not to mention there are teepees for rent. TEEPEES. You can bet none of your friends have slept in a teepee.


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Gloss Mountain State Park: Feel like you’re a lone survivalist in the desert at Gloss Mountain. Though not actual mountains, these buttes and mesas will captivate your imagination as you forget your responsibilities at home. Their glossy look comes from the abundance of selenite gypsum crystals in the earth. From a short hike to the top of Cathedral Mountain you’ll get an eyeful of the Cimmaron River. Since there is no camping, it makes for a perfect family day trip complete with a picnic and scenic inspiration.


 

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The OKC Bucket List: Summer Sights & Sounds

 

If you’re feeling underwhelmed by this heavy summer season then these features can revive your imagination despite the humidity. Once you have completed this bucket list, due to your renewed artistic outlook you will be able to take up that hobby that you were always scared to try. A fair warning that these activities may make you more interesting to be around and cultured beyond your years. We won’t say that we told you so.


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1. Yawn on the Lawn. At the Myriad Botanical Gardens, Sonic hosts summer movies on the Great Lawn. Wednesday evenings you can pack up the family and lawn chairs for a cinematic experience set in a scenic lush backdrop. Feel free to take a picnic though they do have popcorn, snow cones and ice cream for purchase in case you leave the basket at home. The average price of this ticket? FREE. Which is the best price of all. The show starts at 8 pm so be sure to arrive early to choose your favorite blanket spot.


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2. Be Cultured. Art After 5 lets you wander the permanent and special exhibits of the Oklahoma Museum of Art from 5 pm to 9 pm every Thursday for $5 or free for members. The Roof Terrace provides live music while you sip a drink from the cash bar and let the art wash over you.


3. Jazz it Up. Norman’s annual Jazz in June festival is self-proclaimed the hippest festival around. For the past 33 years Jazz in June has grown to over 50,000 hip attendees. What began as a fundraiser is now a non-profit, free to the public event. This three-day event brings jazz and blues artists from all over the state to play hot tunes for the eager listeners. Make sure to put it on your calendar from June 15th to 17th. You wouldn’t want to fall flat on this musical treat.


 

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4. Shake it Out. The ultimate summer must is to see Shakespeare in the Park at the Myriad Gardens Water Stage. It was founded over 30 years ago and continues to engage the masses. Tickets can be purchased at the box office for $20 or with discounts for seniors, students, and military. A concession is available or you can bring your own goodies. The “Taming of the Shrew” is the first show of the season. The perfect blend of humor and sass to end a summer eve.



MB_0013_17JuneB1-21C5. Sip and See. Have a drink and some appetizers at Mary Eddy’s restaurant and bar located in 21c Hotel. You can take your beverage with you to wander the hotel’s contemporary art exhibit. The exhibit is changing for the hotel’s one year anniversary so there will be new sights to peruse. I suggest taking a selfie with their resident purple penguin. Each hotel has their signature color of penguin. Collect them all.

 

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