Coffee. I have to have it. Plain and simple. It’s not pretty when I don’t. I love it in the morning, rubbed onto my steaks, ask a facial scrub (yep) and even in cocktails. You know that coffee liqueur that starts with a K and ends with lua yep this is a pretty awesome knock off if I say so myself. Until recently, I didn’t realize you could make so many of my favorite adult libations at home but you CAN and should. Besides tasting amazing it will save you a bundle. Now you can get those shoes you’ve been eyeing. You’re welcome.
I love shrooms. It’s true. I love them in all their shroomy forms. From the oh so common versatile button to uppity truffle. I love them all. Now if only I could afford the uppity truffle but alas I’ll have to settle for truffle oil around these parts. I mean I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth, just that spoon you see there in the photo which I happen to have lifted borrowed from my parents house last visit. Technically my Dad insisted that I take it (in case my Mom happens to be reading this, remember I’m the favorite child). Champagne taste on a beer budget. I’m afflicted with it.
You can never go wrong with baked brie. Period. It’s one of those appetizers that’s easy elegant and won’t stick around for long. It’s great at a party (New Year’s Eve maybe?) or heck just because. You can go au natural and serve it baked with just a side of crackers or you can get a little more fancy schmancy and try this baked brie with cajeta sauce with fruit and nuts. It’s kind of a show stopper in the appetizer department and couldn’t be easier.
I’m not sure why pizza always pops into my mind on Friday’s but it does. Not that it’s not fantastic any other night of the week because it is, but there’s just something about eating pizza on Friday night. Now that has me wondering how much busier pizza delivery guys are on Friday? Hmppph. Seriously though, why order a pizza when you can make one yourself. Might I also add, in less time and for a whole lot less money. Saving money is always good in my book so are options.
One of my favorite things to do is to take an ingredient and do something unexpected with it. Like cookie dough for instance, cookies are fantastic and are getting a lot of attention right now, rightly so ’tis the cookie exchange season not to mention cookies for Santa and all, but how about taking cookie dough and turning into to say a dessert pizza just to shake things up? Now we’re talking. It’s basically one giant cookie topped with your tummies momentary desire.
Instead of giant parties I like to host smaller holiday get togethers during the month of December (and really all year round for that matter). Entertaining can be stressful though, let’s face it. To keep my anxiety in check there are a few things that I always try to do so that I (the hostess with the mostest – I have an apron that says so which makes it true right?) can enjoy myself and our company. Because if Mamma ain’t happy no one is happy right?
I love sauces. It’s only natural since I’m fairly saucy myself. One that I think is pretty under rated is the Italian Salsa Verde aka Green Sauce. It’s bright vibrant and BOLD. There are many many versions of salsa verde depending on which family you ask or even depending on what region you’re from. Some recipes contain bread, anchovies, capers etc. This is the version that I make most often. It’s perfect on chicken, fish, pork as a condiment for sandwiches or even for dipping bread. It’s a multi-tasking work horse of a sauce.
I’m not sure about you but in my little 2 stoplight town there aren’t many shopping options. Sad but true. Now before you say “bless her heart” we do have a grocery store, it’s just not the biggest in the world. Besides our one grocery store we do have a Dollar General. Which has recently gotten a Red Box and I for one could not be happier, but back to Dollah Dollah store as I affectionately call it. When I need something fast and easy I head there. It’s small and I know where everything is at. I can get in and out quickly. Besides being convenient, they carry A LOT of products. Variety is the spice of life after all.
Did I have you at boozy? These definitely had my attention. One bite and they’ll have yours too. Tired of sweet potatoes topped with sticky marshmallows? Or just looking for something a little different to do with those taters for Thanksgiving (and beyond)? Why not spike your sweet potatoes? Good idea eh? Grab the good stuff – Maker’s Mark Whisky. You know that cool looking bottle with the red wax dripping off of it. Yeah that’s the one.
I blinked and it’s November. I am finding it hard to believe in less than a week Thanksgiving will be here. There’s a whole lot of cooking that will be going on next Thursday. Most of it takes hours. That bird alone consumes most of the day and most of the oven space. To keep everyone from pulling their hair out because they’re starving waiting on it all come together (or is that just at my house?) I think it’s a good idea to have a few appetizers out. While I may want to bust out a bag of chips and dip and let them go at it, sigh it is Thanksgiving so I think a little bit of a more dressed up bite is in order.
Why no that’s not Velveeta. It’s pumpkin macaroni and cheese. But go ahead and let the kids think that if you need to. I do tell mine, just after they’ve inhaled their first portion and ask for seconds. I’m a big fan of all things pumpkin and think they should be too. Next to boots, Italian Hot Chocolate and scarves it’s my favorite part of fall.
Now that the weather is getting cooler and will be downright cold before we know it we’re switching from cold cereal to warmer breakfasts like oatmeal. Besides being REALLY good for you you can add just about any flavor to it you like. Right now I have pumpkin on the brain. Pumpkin + Oatmeal = a wicked good baked pumpkin pie oatmeal. Happy kids. Happy me. I blame Thanksgiving and fall for my pumpkin obsession. I’m not quite sure why I save my pumpkin binge solely for this time of year. But that’s a conversation for another day.
We’ve been on a slow cooker tare around our house lately. The biggest reason is that I’m just B-U-S-Y. Most days I feel like a taxi driver. So much so, I’m thinking of painting our Suburban yellow. But then it would probably look like a submarine or a school bus and we wouldn’t want that. Because of our crazy sauce schedule, there isn’t as much time as I would like to cook. Instead of eating out every night, which my budget and waistline can’t take, we’ve been leaning on our trusty slow cooker for help. That and pasta. Lots and lots of pasta dishes.
Fall is one of my favorite times of year. The weather is cooler which means we can open the windows, fire up the oven and bust out our boots and cardigans. It makes me want to cook even more. We typically have friends over at least once a week. I like to have a small appetizer ready to go when they arrive.
I am fortunate to still have squash coming out of my ears garden. I have sauteed, roasted and baked it into everything I could think of this summer with the exception of turning it into a sauce. I’m not sure why I waited so long. It was ridiculously good. Sweet, savory and seriously saucy. This would also be a fantastic way to use leftover squash. I plan on trying this with other variations of squash too. Roasted butternut (or sweet dumpling) squash sauce anyone?
I love a reason to break out my mandoline. It makes the most beautiful perfectly uniform slices of just about anything you feel like sliding across it’s insanely sharp blade. Yes, use the cover. It’s not there as optional. It’s sharp. Trust me. As much as I’d like to think I have mad knife skills I simply can’t make uniform slices like the mandoline can. Not to mention it takes seconds to slice things vs. the hour it would take me to even try to get them close.
I think I have finally found a salad that I can happily eat. I know, me a salad that I love go figure. This one has tons of texture and freshness so there’s no room for me to get bored. The dressing alone I could just spoon it into my mouth. But I digress and wait for the lovely mixture of lettuce that’s peppered with thinly sliced apples, crunchy walnuts and dried cherries. Sounds good right?
I’ve been taken to ordering items from my CSA that I’ve never cooked with before. It keeps things interesting and I really do enjoy trying new things. I saw Sweet Dumpling Squash on the list and with a name like that how could I not order it. They look like mini pumpkins and have the most unique green and yellow striations I have ever seen. And yes their flesh is sweet like their name suggests.
Today is the kind of day that this pizza would have come in handy for dinner. It’s been a doozy. If you didn’t know Go Daddy had a major problemo today causing half of the world’s websites (okay maybe not that many) to go down. My little places on the virtual world included. Now finally all seems to be right in the virtual universe again and I can share this little gem of a pizza with you. So perhaps it could be tomorrow night’s dinner. Or the next busy night’s dinner. You decide.
Although the calendar and shorter days are telling me it’s fall, my air conditioner is telling me otherwise. It’s still hot here (shorts and flip flops hot). One benefit of it being hot means that my little garden that could is still producing so I’m going to hold onto summer’s goodness for just a little longer. We love to grill an assortment of veggies and then use them as a side or chop them into pieces and make a SIMPLE SUMMER GARDEN PASTA dish.