a festival of fried goodness and an etsy shop update

Etsy shop update! Including a 1960's Pendleton wool overcoat and a plaid wool jumper!

This past weekend, Neil participated in the Southern Fried Festival dessert challenge.. and he won third place!

Neil made homemade ricotta and a sweet batter to fry the cheese in. He also made a brandy caramel sauce that went on top and inside the fritters.. I was a fan. I was his assistant in the frying, and I kept sneaking little fritter pieces that were too small to serve. I hope the judges didn't notice.

This was Neil's first food contest, and it was a bit nerve wracking. The other contestants had some serious restaurant experience (the winner of the contest is a restaurant owner), so getting third place with less experience was a big compliment to Neil. I was so happy for him - you should have seen the relief in his eyes once it was all done.

The day started with rain, but it slowly became sunnier and more crowded. The festival took place in Columbia, Tennessee, which has a gorgeous downtown square.. And there was, of course, fried food galore. Fried brownies, chicken, Twinkies, Snickers, Oreos, funnel cakes, apple fritters - even fried barbecue and fried whole pickles on sticks. And even FRIED PEANUT BUTTER AND JELLY SANDWICHES.

I have other positive news as well.. last night, I received a happy surprise from beautiful Aya of StrawberryKoi.. she featured me as her blogger of the week! Thanks so much, Aya!

Aya has been a real sweetheart to me ever since I started this blog last June, and I really appreciate her consistent support of my blog, as well as everyone else's! She is always willing to check out new bloggers and give them encouragement, and that is extremely important in this massive internet society. She makes the fashion blogging community feel a little smaller, a little warmer.

Tonight, Neil and I made dinner for my parents at our place! Neil made an oxtail stew that he baked in a hollowed out pie pumpkin (we have an awesome farmer's market near here with all sorts of fresh, cheap produce). I used the pumpkin flesh to make a spiced cream for profiteroles (I used Alton Brown's pate a choux recipe, which is insanely easy) and used Neil's leftover brandy caramel sauce and some pecans for garnish. Needless to say, it was a very autumn-themed dinner! It's so nice to prepare a meal for my parents, to give back to them even a tiny fraction of what they've given us recently.

Happy Monday!