I’m kinda crazy for all things squash (I eat it, every variety I can get my hands on, and often) so it was only natural that I looked to the gourd family to inspire a little fall table-scape. I don’t like to go to any grand effort to dress up my tables but I do like to do something small and in season. That something for me needs to be: easy and LOW profile. There’s nothing more irritating to me during a meal (other than over cooked food and that’s just a given) than to have to bob and weave around a large centerpiece to try and have a conversation with your family or guests. Hence LOW profile.
Meatballs. You gotta love ‘em. I mean come on. They’re fun sized spheres of meat. Okay we’ll just stick to calling them meatballs, that’s much more appetizing. Whether you like to bake them, fry them or stew them in sauce. Totally up to you. Want them made with multiple types of meat? Press on. Want to stuff them? Have at it. Options. You know we love those. A lot.
If you’ve been around my little corner of the web or have known me for more than 5 minutes you know my absolute two hands down favorite things to eat are Spaghetti alla Carbonara and Tiramisu. Hands down. No need for me to even think about it. Those will always be my answers. Always. I get glossy eyes and glaze over just at the thought of them. At this very moment I’m contemplating making Carbonara for lunch. ^&**(!)%). If I didn’t have to get into this little black dress this weekend I would be all over that. Sigh. I’ve been trying to be better about portions, which isn’t my strong suit. These little jars of individual Tiramisu are the perfect pick me up dessert and help me keep my sweet tooth in a proportionate check. Well mostly.
We eat a lot of chicken. So it goes without saying that I have a REALLY large repertoire of chicken recipes. We have our favorites of course, everyone does but if I served the same ones week in and week out I’d probably end up with a mutiny on my hands (ain’t nobody got time for that). This was one of my “clean out the refrigerator” ideas for chicken. Sometimes they work out. Sometimes they don’t. Obviously if its making it to our corner of the web here Mikey (aka the family) liked it. Woot. Glazes are a great way to go with chicken. Making a glaze is super easy. You take a liquid and reduce it. My soon to be eight year old could do this, he calls it sauce and I just don’t have the heart to correct him, being the baby and all, and well let’s be honest he’s cute. Real cute (for the record, and just in case they might read this – my other two children are equally adorable.)
I have a confession to make. I’m kind of obsessed with chicken wings. The saucier the better. If you’re not getting sauce on your face while you eat wings then you’re not doing it right. It’s not a first date kind of food. Best eaten amongst friends. Just saying. I also recommend not wearing a white shirt. It’s just a bad idea. Sauce stains and those just don’t come out. I also prefer the legs over the wings so it’s good to pair up with someone who likes the opposite so you can scarf down all the legs (or wings) that you like. Or is that just me? I suppose I could just make all legs but then I couldn’t call them wings. Seems I’m quite particular about this aren’t I. Ha.
I’m a big fan of chicken thighs, bone in (flavor baby) it’s the cut that I gravitate to first. Sometimes I need a cut that’s going to cook up much much faster. Say when I have a herd of hungry people in my kitchen screaming what’s for dinner, MOM I’m hungry, and the other dozen or so statements that I block out after the first two. Am I the only one? Surely I can’t be. That’s where chicken breast tenderloins come in. They cook up in lickety split and help keep the peace and my headaches at bay.
I like organization. I wish my family had the same like of organization as I do but unless I break out the drill sergeant voice sigh they do not. I try to keep our main living area in order (not necessarily spotless mind you because who has time for that – just tidy and picked up, everything in their places) and I simply avoid the basement and upstairs as much as possible. It helps keep me sane. You can call it avoidance if you want. Lets not split hairs. A small thing I’ve done in my kitchen to keep my grocery list organized (no more notes laying around) is to paint a raised section of our kitchen door with chalkboard paint. I can’t tell you how much this has saved me from forgetting ingredients. When we’re out of something we grab the chalk and add it to the list. Done. It’s on the door so it’s not taking up any coveted counter space or my lack of kitchen wall space. Besides being used primary as our running GROCERY LIST, it’s a creative way to showcase your DINNER MENU or even DOODLING for the kids. Multi-purpose. It’s a good thing.
Tarts sound so fancy but in actuality they’re super simple to make. Especially if you start out with a prepared pie crust. It’s not that I don’t know how to make my own, because I do, but sometimes a girl needs a shortcut. Well unless you’re Wonder Woman and then you probably don’t need any. I however do, thank you. I found gorgeous black plums at the market and knew I wanted to turn them into a deliciously decadent dessert. If you can’t get your hands on plums, peaches would be loverly as well.
Summer is winding down. I’m not sure I’m ready to let it go yet though. I love the warm weather, riding around with the top down music blaring (yes I’m that girl. I do however turn it down at stoplights because otherwise it’s just obnoxious), long sunny days, flip flops, sun kissed skin, and the smell of food cooking on the grill. Pretty soon I’ll have to default to my grill pan but until then we’re going to keep the cover off our grill and the charcoal stocked. In fact (for those of us living in the states) I’m betting that a lot of you (us included) will be firing up your grills today and tomorrow to celebrate Labor Day. Work hard and play hard right? Right.
I think from now on I might actually put candied bacon on everything. It’s so good it’s should probably be illegal. So good I’m pretty much willing to put up with the inevitable sticky fingers that come with. A word to the wise, you’ll want to wait until your newly candied bacon is cooled before you go diving into a slice. Let’s just say I learned the hard way and I may or may not be speaking with a lisp today because my tongue is burned. Silver lining the cool panna cotta helped.
Spaghetti alla Carbonara is my FAVORITE dish on the planet. Hands down. It’s not even close. Every single time you ask, that’s the answer you’re going to get. I do love food (hello food blogger) so naturally there are MANY MANY foods that I love. Dishes that make me swoon practically lose my balance fall off my chair and even roll my eyes back into my head but there’s only one that’s always twisted around the top of my trophy fork and that’s Carbonara. It’s not a complicated dish to make but it does take a little finesse. It’s about the timing and this isn’t a meal that you step away from when it’s done. It’s meant to be eaten straight away. Which for someone who doesn’t like to wait on much, is a very very good thing.
Next to pasta the most consumed food in our house is probably rice. We keep a variety on hand because you know how much we like options around bell’alimento land. White, Basamati, Jasmine, Yellow. You get the picture. We like to be prepared. That’s the girl scout in me. We didn’t even cover the fact that rice is incredibly versatile and can be used in a plethora of cuisines. Extra points for that (and for using the word plethora – too bad we’re not playing scrabble). It’s also kid friendly.
We’re celebrating today. It’s not any particular milestone or event we just felt like celebrating. Happy Monday. Happy End of Summer. Happy almost Labor Day. Happy Un-Birthday. Happy Happy Happy. Do you have that song in your head now. It’s kind of addictive. Know what other song is addictive? Kenny Chesney’s new one “American Kids”. That my friends might be my new favorite KC song. It’s snappy, and sassy. Kind of like me. Yes, since I’ve been developing recipes for Kenny Chesney’s Rum Company – Blue Chair Bay Rum, over the past few months we’ve developed this friendship (even if it’s only in my head but whatever just roll with it).
Next week it’s back to school for my kids. I! Am! Thrilled! You can probably tell by the exclamation marks. It’s been a long summer people. No judging. What I’m not looking forward to is waking up early after a summer of lazy mornings. I’m not a morning person. Never have been and I’m thinking that’s probably never going to change. Thank goodness for coffee is all I can say. For me though, it’s important to get the kids off with a full belly. This biscuits and sausage gravy is a shortcut breakfast that can be prepped the night before and then just heated up in the morning. That’s definitely a good thing.
I seem to be on a sweet tooth tare these days. No Bake Nutella Cheesecake. Espresso Ice Cream, Sweet Corn Ice and Blackberry Ice Cream and the like. Which is probably why I’m having to get reacquainted with my treadmill. It’s amazing how much reading and catching up on my shows I can do via my Kindle while I’m logging the miles. I’m a multi tasker what can I say. It’s also where I can dream about all those desserts I want to whip up. I make myself feel a whole better about inhaling eating them when they’re in individual portions. Totally rational right.
I love a good cheesecake as much as the next person. Let’s be honest though, sometimes I just don’t have time to bake one, wait for it to cool and then chill it down. That’s exhausting just to think about. Not that it’s not worth it, it is, but sometimes a girl needs a break. A no bake break that is. Can I get an amen? I’ve been feeling a little disappointed in myself that I haven’t shared a Nutella recipe with y’all since I don’t know when (I know, I know, for shame). I’m rectifying that today. Grab your forks friends, I think you’re going to love this one as much as we did.
It’s back to school month around our neck of the woods !!! Yes I used three exclamation marks. I’m excited. The kids, not so much. They do however get excited about back to school shopping. I must admit I kinda get going myself about calendars, pencils, pens and the like. I’m old school in that way. I love to actually WRITE things in my calendar. As much as I love technology (and I really really do as my iphone is practically attached to my hip) there’s just something about putting pen (ehem or pencils) to paper.
I know what you’re thinking CORN ICE CREAM. Has she lost her ever loving mind? No (well maybe summer is getting to me if we’re going to be completely honest). Sweet Corn Ice Cream it’s a real thing. Of course I didn’t know this was a thing myself until last year when I walked into the newly opened Jeni’s in Nashville TN. I saw it on the massive chalkboard amongst a sea of other delectable flavors and knew I needed to try it. I’m always up for trying somewhat off the wall flavor combinations. How are you ever go to know if you like something if not. Right? Right.
Last week I was in the Florida Keys (if you follow me on Instagram and Twitter you would have seen some of the aca-awesomness, and if you’re not, just why? Go ahead and fix that now. Okay? Okay.) I almost didn’t come home. Not even going to pretend that it was anything short of amazing. The food, the people the WATER. It’s ridiculous. I honestly bought an artisan made necklace off a gallery owner’s neck because it reminded me of the water. I had to have it, and this cocktail that I discovered while there.
Coffee, it pretty much gets me through my day (well that and wine but we’re talking about coffee today). You all know this. It isn’t a secret. I’m coo coo for coffee. That would make an awesome t-shirt wouldn’t it. I should look into that. Naturally when I found out that my birth month JULY was National Ice Cream Month you knew my first flavor to churn out would be a highly caffeinated perfect espresso roast ice cream. It’s pretty much the perfect way to enjoy coffee in the summer time. As much as I love ICED COFFEE this is better. Don’t hate.