Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Retrospective: 2014 in Review

It seems somewhat crazy to me that we're already at a point for a "best of" post for 2014.  I mean, 2013 really didn't end all that long ago, did it?
According to my post list, I made 87 new  recipes this year.  That's more than 1 per week, and really exciting, when you think that the Magazine Challenge requires more than 1 per week.  I made 38 recipes from Everyday Food as a part of said Magazine Challenge that I've managed to blog.  There are a few more that will come up early in January.  This is also the year that I joined the Secret Recipe Club and started posting a recipe once per month from that source.  I also participated in my first multi-blogger event this year with the #10DaysofTailgate, which I loved!  I've signed up for another event in February, and have already started making recipes to get ready for that.  I also had a weekly menu featured on the Canadian Food Bloggers site, and started playing around with Twitter.  Finally, I started filling my freezer this fall to keep us eating at home and on track.
Now, let us relive the best of this year that J and I have eaten from our kitchen on the mountain.  I present to you now a Things I Make (for Dinner) retrospective:

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

An Apology, and Next Steps

I've not been here.  I've been present with family and friends for the holiday season.  Personally, I've taken a step back at work (J, my therapist and I all think this is a good thing) and so I've been packing up and moving my office to start the next adventure.  I've also been having fun with our new kitten, who is, in J's words, "a pistol".  While the other cat is still alpha, the kitten has given her a run for her money.  She's into everything, and we spend a great deal of time telling her no.  My mom fought the ongoing battle of keeping her away from people food while she was here for a few days.
That doesn't mean that I haven't been cooking!  I have a list of 12 things that are in different stages of blogging.  Fodder to start the new year, for sure.
Blog-wise, it's been busy.  I've been looking at my goals for next year.  More on that on January 1, with a new year comes new resolutions.  I've already signed up for another blogging event, and I've been thinking about what else I'd like to do in this upcoming year.
So here's to what's next!  Tomorrow, the annual Retrospective will take centre stage with things we loved from this past year.  So many good things, so little time!  Stay tuned....

Monday, December 15, 2014

Secret Recipe Bonus: Strawberry-Almond Thumbprint Cookies

While the Secret Recipe Club is done for this year, an offer came out that I couldn't refuse.
You remember the Secret Recipe Club, right?  The group where I'm given a blog to stalk and make something so we can all reveal at the same time?  It's a great way to meet new people and make some delicious recipes!
When someone suggested that we have a virtual cookie exchange along the same lines amongst all members of the group who were interested, I signed up.  And that's how I became involved in the SRC Cookie Carnival.

I was excited to see who my partner would be!  Much like my reveal earlier this month, I returned to an old friend.  The email with my partner sent me to Anna's blog, Cheese with Noodles.  Back in June, I made Anna's Dreamy Baked Ziti for a Reveal Day.  I was excited to have another look and find a cookie recipe to try.
I considered a couple of the sandwich cookie recipes before deciding on these thumbprint cookies.  I'd never made thumbprints, but the premise seemed simple enough, and I could use my strawberry jam that I made this summer!  Shortbread and could that possibly be bad?
I present to you now Cheese with Noodles' Strawberry Almond Shortbread Thumbprint Cookies:

Monday, December 8, 2014

Bride of Magazine Challenge: Sausage and Tomato Risotto

This is the first weekend we've been home in a while.  It's kind of nice to be here, simply because there's never enough time for the things that I really need to get done.  Updating here would be a good example of what doesn't happen...we won't talk about the cleaning, laundry or grocery buying that gets put off too.
But we're here now, and that's all good.  J and I changed out the water in the hot tub, put up the weather station I got him for his birthday, and put up the Christmas lights yesterday.  I fell asleep on the couch this afternoon.  It's amazing what doesn't get done when I spend the afternoon sleeping.  We had plans to set up the Christmas tree so that the kitten can start learning to climb it, but the best we managed was some meal planning and a trip to the grocery store.  I blame the cold weather.
Cold weather begs for meals like this: hearty, one pot affairs that use cheese, and wine, and make you dream of being in Italy as you snooze on the couch.  It's all good.
I present to you now from the November 2006 issue of Everyday Food, Sausage and Tomato Risotto:

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Planning: December 7-12, 2014

The year is quickly drawing to close, and there's so much to do!  One of the things that often falls by the wayside when it's busy and I don't know what to do is eating.  Eating out is easy.  Not cheap, not nearly as good for me, but freakishly simple and one less thing to worry about.
This month is becoming a case in point to that:  I'm busy, I'm quickly losing motivation to do much of anything, and eating out sounds good.
While it sounds good, it's not healthy, nor is it cost effective.  J and I have talked about the fact that we're trying to be smart with our money.  One of the smart things we can do is eat at home.  This week is the only place to start with that.
Here's what we're planning to eat on the mountain this week:
Sunday:  Sausage and Tomato Risotto.  My first Magazine Challenge recipe in a bit.
Monday:  Mini Shepherd's Pies and Broccoli.  These are freezable.
Tuesday:  Crockpot Lasagna and garlic bread.
Wednesday:  Leftovers
Thursday:  Shake n Bake Chicken drumsticks, mashed potatoes and broccoli
Friday:  Dinner out.
Sounds good.  On paper, this sounds totally doable.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Bride of Magazine Challenge: Yikes!

I'm behind.  To put it mildly.
Somehow, November has morphed into December and I have as of yet to do a planning post with the recipes from either month for the magazine challenge.  It's kind of sad:  I've tried and done pretty well at keeping up with 6 recipes a month from Everyday Food until fall and football and weekends away and life.  But there are still things I want to make, and some of them are even making it into mhy plans for Christmas dinner.  More on that to come.
November's issue of Everyday food is filled with ideas for Thanksgiving and make-ahead food.  This was actually a month where I couldn't come up with 6 things I wanted to try.  There are 5.  Here's what I want to make from November 2006:

  1. Herbed Biscuits (freeze and bake)
  2. Tomato and Sausage Risotto
  3. Maple cake
  4. Chocolate Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars
  5. Blue Cheese and Walnut Spread
I'm thinking maybe the biscuits and definitely the spread for Christmas here.  My mom's coming back with us, and we're celebrating late.  I think we're having prime rib.  There's one lurking in the bottom of the freezer.
December is the first issue in the 2 years that I've been doing this project where I've made 2 things before:  Warm Chocolate Puddings and Mint Chocolate Brownies.  The Brownies are over the top, and so rich.  You bite into them, and you wonder how long it will take before your teeth start falling out.  They're worth it.  Trust me.  Once again, I only have 5 things to try, but I don't consider that cheating because I've already made the 2 desserts listed above.  Here's what I want to make from December 2006:
  1. Rasberry Trifle
  2. Apricot Stuffed French Toast
  3. Parmesan Spirals
  4. Glazed Shallots
  5. Tortilla Pie
The trifle, spirals and shallots are also probably going to be incorporated into Christmas feasting.  I'm thinking French Toast for New Year's.  This is working out well!
Here's to the end of 2014...and 2006!!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Secret Recipe Club: Gemista

It's that time again...time for a Secret Recipe Club Reveal Day!
I love getting an email once a month that sends me to explore a new foodie blog, or this month one that I have enjoyed before.
This month, I was assigned Francesca's delightful blog, Della Cucina Povera.  We've been here before, faithful readers.  In September, I volunteered to make a recipe from an orphan guessed it, Francesca's.  I made Cinnamon Rolls.  They were awesome.
You would think that I would try something that I had considered last time, and once again falafels made the short list, but then I saw these.
When I lived in France, I had a host mother who made stuffed tomatoes that were a mostly ground beef and garlic stuffing.  They were awesome.  I saw these and got nostalgic.  They had rice in them, and mint...but it might be the same as the tomatoes of my memory.  They weren't, of course.  But they were darn yummy.  J told me he was "pleasantly surprised".  I'm not sure what exactly he was expecting, but apparently what he got wasn't quite it.  No worries.  They were happily consumed by all.
I present to you now Della Cucina Povera's Gemista:

Friday, November 14, 2014

Bride of Magazine Challenge: Crispy Oven Fries

Sometimes I just don't know what to add to my meal plan that will be good for 1 night.
With so many things that I make feeding 4, we get 2 nights out of many meals.  But with all schedules, there's often 1 night in the week left over, and I don't know what to make.  It's at that point we whip out something really simple that if we don't get to it and go out, it won't really matter.
One of those simple, one night meals that we often rely on is broccoli, potatoes or a rice packet and grilled steak.
We buy our steak at Costco, and cut them in half when we repackage into smaller portions.  So a tray of steaks makes a whole lot more servings than the 3 that originally start on the tray at the store.  With the current decision to use up everything in the freezer (or a good portion thereof before defrosting), steak is definitely on the menu.
Usually, I make mashed potatoes because all I need to do is chop, boil and mash to make a side.  But when I saw this recipe in the October 2006 issue of Everyday food, I thought that they might be a nice change of pace.  I was right.  We loved them.  J has requested that I make them again sometime.
They're not for a quick night, but they're different.  I present to you now from the October 2006 issue of Everyday Food Crispy Oven Fries:

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Achieving Fangirl Status: Monterrey Chicken Skillet

According to Urban Dictionary, a fangirl is:
 "A rabid breed of human female who is obesessed with either a fictional character or an actor. Similar to the breed of fanboy. Fangirls congregate at anime conventions and livejournal. Have been known to glomp, grope, and tackle when encountering said obesessions."Hugh Jackman: 'ello. Fangirl: SQUEEEEEE! *immediately attaches to Jackman's leg* Jackman: Security!
I'm getting close to the point where I am a total fangirl of Beth and her website, Budget Bytes.  I have to admit I'm not planning to grope her, though...I'm making no guarantees about attaching myself to her leg.  How about just sit in her kitchen and love her process?  Maybe question her a lot about costing out recipes, and how she manages to get some things so cheaply?  Yeah, that doesn't sound obsessive.  
I discovered Budget Bytes not long after joining Pinterest.  I read the "Top 20 for 2012" post, and started trying recipes:  Chicken Meatball Teriyaki Bowls, Black Bean Quesadillas, and beans in the crockpot.  Anything I've made has worked, has been full of flavour, and I've been told that I'm more than welcome to make it again.  What's not to love?
When I saw this recipe on her website, I was a little skeptical about the combination of flavours.  I don't use BBQ sauce a whole lot, and I wasn't sure about the sweet with everything else.  Neither was J.  He asked if maybe I thought I should leave the sauce out.  But I decided to stick with the process.  I mean, I hadn't been steered wrong before.  
Just as well.  The BBQ sauce was a nice touch.  
I present to you now Budget Bytes' Monterrey Chicken Skillet:

Monday, November 10, 2014

Something different: Stromboli

While I don't often make pizza at home, I do make pizza dough and turn it into calzones with a variety of fillings more often.  I love that calzones are freezable, and make a couple of nights worth of dinners.
One Monday while perusing the offerings from another group's reveal day for the Secret Recipe Club, I came across this recipe for stromboli.  It was so pretty, I wanted to give it a try too.  While not a calzone, I still needed to make pizza dough and create a filling.
On a Sunday night with a salad, this was a lovely dinner.
I present to you now On the Move - In the Galley's Stromboli:

Friday, November 7, 2014

Bride of Magazine Challenge: Roast Beef with Potatoes and Pearl Onions

I set this post up and planned to complete it before the time came for it to go live.  Whoops.
For the eagle-eyed among you, the post went live with one word and no recipe.  Time is not my friend right now.  I keep meaning to get to the blog, and it just doesn't happen with everything else that's happening.  But I keep making new things.  So much to share!
Maybe November will be kinder.  Ha!
I like meals that are quick, easy, and give me at least 2 nights worth of meals.  This one is a winner, hands down.  When I went to the grocery store, there were no shallots.  How is that possible?  I think shallots are a fairly basic ingredient.  They did have bags of tiny red onions.  I thought those would be just as yummy.  They were probably more of a pain to peel.
J told me the next time I want to make a roast, he'd be happy to help eat it.  I'd use this recipe again, and even use shallots.
I present to you now from the October issue of Everyday Food, Roast Beef with Potatoes and Red Pearl Onions:

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Classics: Cornbread

I think I've posted about my Holly Hobbie Cookbook before.  It's the first cookbook I ever received, and one of the few that's actually followed me over the years.  There are probably only about 3 recipes that I still make from the book, but with an inscription in the front (Christmas 1980, To Sarah from Mom and Dad with Love, Happy Cooking!) I don't think I'm planning to get rid of it any time soon.  Besides, it's been sitting on the couch for a few days and our new kitten has decided that it's a good thing to try and chew.  Yeah.  We got a kitten.
I make cornbread when J makes chili.  It's not something I think of on a regualr basis, but it is tasty.  I enjoyed it in the days after spread with jam for breakfast.  This recipe is quick, simple, and is made of pantry staples.  And frankly, anything baked at home is delicious (and is even more delicious fresh out of the oven with hot chili covered with shredded cheese and sour cream).  I totally recommend it.
I present to you now from Holly Hobbie's Cookbook, Cornbread:

Monday, November 3, 2014

Secret Recipe Club: Peanut Butter Cup Pie

Incredibly, it is well before the due date for this recipe and I'm already sitting down to complete my post for the Secret Recipe Club.  The premise of the club is simple:  All people who are a part of the group are assigned another blog from the group, which is a secret, until reveal day.  You go to the blog you've received and make a recipe to reveal.  Easy, right?  Super fun too!
This year, we're home for my birthday.  I didn't want to make a cake that the 2 of us would then be left to eat, but with a deadline looming, I decided to see what I could find on my assigned blog, The Saturday Evening Pot.
Chef Jon's lucky wife Anne is a girl after my own heart - she too loves the combination of chocolate and peanut butter!  After perusing a few recipes, and knowing that eventually I want to make both the healthy Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Blondies and the Raspberry Cinnamon Glazed Loaf Cake, I settled on something decadent that I had everything in the house to make - Peanut Butter Cup Pie.
Okay...I didn't have quite everything in the house, so I improvised.  But the dish didn't change.  And oh, what a dessert it is.
I present to you now the Saturday Evening Pot's Peanut Butter Cup Pie:

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Bride of Magazine Challenge: Cherry-Oat Cereal Bars

In my high school, there were 2 things worth buying to my 16 year old mind:  the fries and gravy and the Rice Krispie squares.  If you timed it right before second period, the rice krispie squares would still be warm in their saran wrappings.  Delicious.
I haven't had a Rice Krispie square in years.  I usually choose a baked good that doesn't include marshmallows.  But when I saw these in the September 2006 issue of Everyday Food, I thought that they'd be worth a second look.
These are a square that I can take in my lunch to work - no peanut products in sight.  They're also a little different with the Cheerios instead of the typical Rice Krispies.  The dried cherries make them a little more high-brow.  I would love to put chocolate chips in these, but they'd melt with the warm mixture.  Ah well.  They were good as they are too.
I present to you now from the September 2006 issue of Everyday Food, Cherry-Oat Cereal Bars:

Monday, October 27, 2014

Potluck Perfect: Meatball Pizza Casserole

Over Thanksgiving, after a very exciting Michigan win over Penn State, we went to my mom's.  We heard about her adventures in Italy, enjoyed a delicious stuffed pork tenderloin meal, and I caught up on my What's Cooking reading.
The problem with moving as much as J and I have is that I no longer get What's Cooking Magazine.  As one gigantic advertisement for Kraft, it's absolutely brilliant.  That you have to pay for it?  Eh, not nearly as much.  So when it stopped showing up, I ended up embarking on the Magazine Challenge of the past 2 years.  Perhaps not getting the magazine is not all bad.  I've actually made lots of new stuff that is really good.
But when given a chance to watch some TV and flip through magazines, I found myself drawn back into all the interesting things you can make with Kraft.  I saw this, and knew we'd enjoy it.  We did.  For many, many nights.  It would freeze well, too.  I probably should have done that.
I present to you now Kraft's Meatball Pizza Casserole:

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Planning: October 25-31, 2014

As I was digging through the freezer for something this week, I realized that we have been in the house more than 2 years and I have yet to defrost my freezer.  The reason I realized this?  Large amounts of frost on the walls.  I have now determined that we need to eat to the bottom of the freezer so that I can defrost and restart the process of filling for the purposes of not having to cook as much.
I figure that it will take a while until I can get to the actual process of defrosting.  Like, maybe Christmas vacation.  In the meantime, there will be lots of things to eat that I've previously made, and I am fairly sure that I also have a good deal of meat that will need to be used up.  Not a bad thing on the food budget either.
As a result, I see a lot of chicken in our future.  And pork tenderloin.  Life is rough.
J and I have a fairly normal week, so meals need to be easy and quick or I won't want to make them.  Here's the plan:
Saturday:  J's making chili.  It's been bubbling on the stove since about 10:30 this morning, and smells wonderful.  I need to make cornbread.  I've also finally made the Cherry Oat Cereal bars that I bought marshmallows for more than a month ago.  A month.  Yikes.
Sunday:  Lunch is leftovers - Shake n Bake drumsticks, and the dust from a bag of broccoli mixed into hot rice.  Dinner is Chicken Fajita Salad and Garlic Bread.
Monday:  Something from the freezer - Salisbury Steak Meatballs over noodles and broccoli.  Have I mentioned that Costco has changed the packaging on my 5- pound bag into smaller interior steam and eat bags?  I'm not a fan.  I liked the 5-pounds, take what you need approach.
Tuesday:  Beef Pastry Pockets.  These were so good, and used up that last little bit of roast that always seems to be left.  I promised J that I will make more of these...after we eat our way through the freezer.  I think there are even a couple of roasts in the freezer that we can use for this later.
Wednesday:  Chicken Ranch Foil Packets.  I can assemble these before my guitar lesson, and pop in the oven when I get home.
Thursday:  Grilled Steak, Crispy Oven Fries and broccoli.  
Sounds like a great week!  Let's see how it goes.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Bride of Magazine Challenge: October Planning

Life happened.  Since the end of #10DaysofTailgate, I have been overwhelmed, under pressure and otherwise incapacitated.  And beyond all that, we're talking about getting a kitten.  Cause, you know, life's not crazy enough.
The October edition of Everyday Food features Easy Comfort Food.  I have also made and blogged 1 recipe from this magazine:  Potatoes Gratin.  They're delicious.  I highly recommend them to a friend.  I'm sure there will be some more winners this month.
Easy is the name of the game right now.  Frankly, we've been eating out or eating frozen meals.  I'm kinda enjoying the frozen meals I made in the summer.  Baked Spaghetti, Beef Pastry Pockets, and soup with Chicken  Bacon Taquitos have been fantastic after a busy day when I just want to put on pajamas.
In better news, we're home for 18 nights.  Sleeping in my own bed!  Sleeping in on my birthday!  Cuddling and playing with a new kitten!  Making the current cat feel important!  Making myself a birthday cake!
Here's what we're planning this month from the October 2006 issue:

  • Rocky Road Bars
  • Roast Beef with new potatoes and shallots
  • Crispy Oven Fries
  • Red and Black Bean Pies
  • Ginger Pumpkin Bread
  • Roasted Broccoli with Manchego Cheese
Here's to what's left of the month!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Secret Recipe Club: Apple Cider Bread

It's time for the Secret Recipe Club again!  This snuck up on me this month:  between #10DaysofTailgate and the craziness that is my life, I suddenly realized that I was supposed to have made a recipe for this too and I really didn't have a whole lot of time to get it done.
I try not to be as day late and dollar short as I seem to be in my own eyes.
This month, I was assigned the blog Dancing Veggies.  Amanda is an ovo-lacto vegetarian, and has tons of interesting sounding recipes.  The problem?  My husband is suspicious of entrees that don't include animal-based protein.  When I announced that I had been assigned a vegetarian blog, he asked if I was going to make a dessert.
Time ran short, and I decided that I wasn't fighting with him on this one. But when I started looking at potential recipes, I found this bread and thought that it just sounded like fall.
I haven't been on an apple kick to celebrate fall this year, despite the things I've pinned on Pinterest.  Perhaps this is the beginning.  Today was the first day where I actually thought that I might need to wear socks and shoes.  Fall is close, and my pedicure is going into hiding.  Sigh.
To celebrate the beginning of October, and the fruits of fall, I present to you now Dancing Veggies' Apple Cider Bread:

Saturday, September 27, 2014

#10DaysofTailgate: Chicken Bacon Ranch Taquitos


On Saturdays when we're home for football, J and I often have grazing-type meals with a hot dip, carrot and celery sticks, chips and salsa, and something sweet.  It's even better if the hot something can come out of the freezer to be reheated so there's no real work on Saturday morning before the 12 hour extravaganza that is college football Saturday begins.
These taquitos are perfect for tailgating:  the recipe makes a ton (I got 15 whole small tortillas), uses staples in our house, and are hand-held for snacking.  They'd even transport well wrapped hot in foil.  If you cut the tortillas in half before filling and rolling, they'd be a great appetizer that would serve even more.
When I made these the first time, we enjoyed them with a bowl of tomato soup, but you could also serve them with a salad or carrot and celery sticks as a quick dinner.
Quick, hand-held, delicious.  Who's ready for a football marathon?  From Six Sisters Stuff, I present to you now Chicken Bacon Ranch Taquitos:

Friday, September 26, 2014

#10DaysofTailgate: Diabolo'd Cheesy Bacon-Onion Pinwheel Rolls


I have a confession to make.  I've made these rolls for a long time, and thought I had pictures of them somewhere.  I don't.  The only one I can find is a slightly blurry picture taken with my old BlackBerry Torch at the old house.  It's the picture I'm planning to use after the jump.  I've just run out of time to make a fresh batch of these.  When I was thinking of things for tailgating, though, these sprang to mind immediately.
J and I often have soup on Sundays, and chili during football season.  It makes a ton, and then we can eat leftovers for lunch during the week.  What goes better with soup or chili?  Fresh rolls!
I found these rolls in a Holidays Best put out by Canadian Living in 2005.  I started playing with the different filling ingredients until I found something that we really liked.  Upon receiving a 6-pack of mustards from El Diabolo Mustard, I figured I could kick these up a notch again with the medium spicy and absolutely delicious Steakhouse Mustard.
Remember when I displayed some of what I received for participating in #10DaysofTailgate?
I decided that I needed to try the mustard in something.  Then time ran short.  I can't wait to make these again and use the mustard!!
So whether you're eating chili at your next tailgate, or just have these as a side, there's enough protein to keep you satisfied for a while.  With the addition of spicy mustard, how yummy!
I present to you now from Canadian Living's Holidays Best 2005, Diabolo'd Cheesy Bacon-Onion Pinwheel Rolls:

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

#10DaysofTailgate: Linebacker-Sized Chocolate Chunk Cookies


The beauty of tailgating is that almost anything goes - so long as it travels well.  When J and I were dating, and I would go to football with him and his family, I was always trying to find something that I could take for tailgating that would travel well.  These cookies would have fit the bill.
J's favourite cookie is chocolate chip.  He doesn't think that there should be nuts or coconut or anything else.  While I don't agree, this recipe is a classic.  The high butter content of the cookie means that it is flat and chewy.  The size means you only want one.  Even it you're sitting out all afternoon waiting for the game to begin.
I present to you now from the September 2006 Everyday Food, Giant Chocolate Chunk Cookies:

Monday, September 22, 2014

#10DaysofTailgate: Bacon Cheeseburger Eggrolls

You know how sometimes you make something, and your husband thinks it's so good he eats *6* of them in one sitting and then can't figure out why he doesn't feel well?  No?  Just my house?
This would be the latest recipe that has caused my husband's overeating.
I think the most important thing about food for tailgating is that it is easily portable - not just yummy.  Although yummy is important.  It's always important.  Most people want finger food so that it's easy cleanup and you can try a bunch of different things.  Or one thing.  It's really up to you.
I found this recipe during one of the other fun things I do:  the Secret Recipe Club.  With all the flavours of a bacon cheeseburger in a crispy roll, what's not to love?
I present to you now from Flavours by Four Bacon Cheeseburger Eggrolls:

Saturday, September 20, 2014

#10DaysofTailgate: Soft Pretzels with Buffalo Cheddar Dip


Welcome to the opening kickoff of the #10DaysofTailgate!!  Today, all the bloggers involved are posting a recipe to whet your appetite for everything that is to come over the next 10 days.
Soft baked pretzels are a treat in and of themselves.  When J and I have an early game for Michigan, we order breakfast sandwiches and a Game Day from Zingerman's Deli in Ann Arbor.  The Game Day is 2 fresh baked pretzels, sliced into rounds, and a container of their house made pimento cheese for dipping.  While I am not sure that I would normally be a fan of pimento cheese, Zingerman's is amazing.  So are the pretzels.
But being at home for football (or nowhere near Ann Arbor) means that if I want something involving bread-like snacks to dip in cheese with a kick, I'm on my own.  Enter this recipe I pinned last year, thinking that they looked like something J and I would enjoy.  It's not pimento cheese, but it's hot and customize-ably spicy.  And despite the fact that you have to boil the pretzels before baking, don't let it deter you!  This is a really easy thing to make.
I present to you now from Half Baked Harvest, Soft Pretzels with Buffalo Cheddar Dip (links to the other bloggers, and ways to enter the giveaway are after the jump):

Friday, September 19, 2014

#10DaysofTailgate: My First, and We're Giving It Away!

I'm losing my virginity.  It had to happen at some point.  Welcome to my first multiday/ multiblogger/ giveaway event that I have ever been a part of.

Thanks to Camilla of Culinary Adventures with Camilla who organized this venture, and my own sense of whimsy, I signed up to be a part of this event.  I had no idea what I was getting into.  It's been a ride of new recipes, finally getting around to setting up my Facebook page for this blog and actually using my Twitter account.
Like a true big event, there are sponsors!  And lots of them!  In the coming days, all the bloggers will introduce you to the products furnished to us for use at our tailgate.  Some of those products are even up for grabs for US readers (to my Canadian friends, I have received more sponsor products than I would use in a good long time.  Stay tuned for an upcoming announcement!)
But let's get on with it, shall we?

Welcome to #10DaysofTailgate! We have nearly two dozen bloggers with over one hundred recipes scheduled to inspire you through an entire tailgating season. Think chicken wings, skewers, sweet nibbles, and cocktails. The event runs September 20th through September 30th. Just remember: your fork does not go into your matter how much you might want to taste some of these dishes. Okay? Get ready...get set...

Go! Let's start with a huge - HUGE! - thank you to our event sponsors who have graciously donated prizes for our readers. These sponsors have contributed great prizes for a gigantic giveaway. We have an incredible giveaway for this event. There are fourteen different prize packages which are detailed in the rafflecopter. The rafflecopter is below and will go live on September 20th. Please check back, if you're reading this before our kick-off.

Our #10DaysofTailgate Sponsors
in alphabetical order with links to their homepages

Our #10DaysofTailgate Bloggers
And...THE giveaway!
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Mandatory Entry: Leave a comment with What's your favorite tailgate dish? Many more ways to enter in the Rafflecopter widget [below].

This giveaway is open to residents of the United States only, age 18 and older. The #10DaysofTailgate 2014 giveaway runs from Saturday, September 20, 2014 12:00am PT through Tuesday, September 30, 2014 at 6:00pm PT. Winners will be randomly chosen and announced on October 1, 2014. Winners will also be contacted by email and will have 48 hours to respond to the email. If a winner does not respond in that time a new winner will be chosen. For more information, see the full terms and conditions in the Rafflecopter widget.

Disclaimer: Our generous sponsors are providing the prizes free of charge.  Participating bloggers may have received product related to these brands to use for #10DaysofTailgate. All opinions stated are their own.

Scroll through our fourteen prize packages!

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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Soup for Sunday: Chicken Parmesan Soup

You know what the problem is with today's public school system?  They are germ factories.  We've been back 4 days, and I'm already sick.  I sat on the couch watching football last night with J, and realized that my throat was getting sore.  I'm now stuffed up and grumbling.  A good patient, I am not.
Cold or no, I'm still responsible for making sure we eat.  Thankfully, I'd already put this soup on the menu for Sunday so that I would have leftovers.  It's a snap to put together, and then cooks itself while you do things; which in my case would be lie on the couch, blog and generally be pathetic.
I love chicken parmesan, but never make it because of the work involved.  Here are all the flavours with little of the pesky work.
Even better, the leftovers are delicious the next day for lunch.
I present to you now a Foxes Love Lemons' Chicken Parmesan Soup:

Monday, September 8, 2014

Secret Recipe Club: Cinnamon Rolls

I'm doing a second post for the Secret Recipe Club this month.  The great thing about Secret Recipe Club is it gives a chance to explore a variety of blogs every month.  The problem is that the posting is Monday, and when I'm working I don't have a whole lot of time to make the rounds and read all the other great posts.
But summer has just ended!  And when there was a call for someone to pick up an orphan blog while I was not working, I jumped at the chance.  I really won't have time to volunteer and explore for more than my one assigned blog for a bit after this month.  But I'm so glad I had the chance this month.
My assigned blog this week is Della Cucina Povera.  I loved looking at Francesca's travel pictures, and spent time considering falafels, tiropitakia, and sicilian pistachio cookies.  But ultimately, the carbs won out and I decided to make something for breakfast that drips with icing - cinnamon rolls.
I have posted my mom's cinnamon rolls in the past.  They're carmel-ly, full of pecans, sticky and lovely.  Francesca's rolls are classic cinnamon and cream cheese icing.  They looked gooey and delicious.  They were a perfect treat for my first morning back at work.
I present to you now from Della Cucina Povera, Cinnamon Rolls:

Friday, September 5, 2014

Bride of Magazine Challenge: Garlic Marinated Chicken

I started making this marinade in the summer because it was part of the Bride of Magazine Challenge.  I continued to make it because it's delicious.
I haven't spent as much time in front of the grill as I might have liked to this summer, but the things that we have had have been good.  I didn't even manage to get out our skewers or the vegetable grilling basket.  With things like burgers on the menu, neither of those get much use.
What I like about grilling is that the cleanup is quick.  Being able to put meat in marinade and leave it for a bit while I prep everything else is also nice.  This recipe is actually a part of a larger recipe which I haven't made - the potatoes and vegetables sound good, but I just haven't done it.  The marinade though?  Delicious.
I present to you now from the July/August 2006 issue of Everyday Food, Garlic Marinated Chicken:

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Freezer Friendly: Breakfast Sandwiches

I haven't been very good about eating breakfast.  In the summer, I spend each morning with a cup of coffee, orange juice and toast or muffins.  But during the school year, I get up as late as I feel I can (I'm still at school an hour before classes start) and blow through the kitchen to make my lunch, a coffee to take with me and a glass of juice while I read my email and texts so I know what I'm walking into in my day.
Work means I don't always get around to lunch.  When students eat, I'm running the halls supervising, and I often don't stop until I realize I'm nauseous/light headed/parched; usually around 2.  I know I need to eat, and I'm trying to come up with ways to eat quickly and easily in the morning, even if it means taking breakfast with me to eat at my desk.  I have been pinning recipes for breakfasts for a while now.  Mostly, they are things that can be frozen and reheated.
J and I have a tradition on Sundays of going to McDonald's for breakfast before church.  We order egg mcmuffin combos to eat at the restaurant and large cafe mochas that we take with us to the theatre where our church meets.  Every week, I order a bacon and egg mcmuffin.  When I saw a variety of recipes for frozen mcmuffin copycats, I decided to give them a shot.
I present to you now my take on freezable Breakfast Sandwiches:

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Mug Swap 2014: The Conundrum


After having so much fun in last year's swap, I decided to participate again this year.  This year, Kim encouraged us to bless others - through a donation and a box beyond just a mug.  The box I received was delightful.  The box I was to send...well, we'll get to that.
I got a happy box from Rachel.  It was happy:

Right down to the strawberry rhubarb and triple berry jam that it contained.  I've finished the strawberry rhubarb already.  It was delicious.

Rachel encouraged me to drink large amounts of coffee.  She decorated the mug herself :)
She also encouraged me to be hydrated, or at least look like I am.
She sent a replacement notebook for meal planning, which was just as well seeing as I had almost finished the last notebook I was using for planning.
Finally, I am encouraged to keep up the attitude in my kitchen.  I love this.  I've already found a spot to hang it in my kitchen.

So thanks Rachel.  This was awesome.

On to the not so great.  I am still in the possession of the box I am to send.  I took it to send, and I was informed that the address didn't exist.  I came home and googled the address.  They were right.  The address doesn't exist.  I emailed the girl I am to send to, and she hasn't responded to either of my emails.  So here I sit, in possession of a box for someone, and no idea what to do.  Anyone?  Bueller?

Monday, September 1, 2014

Secret Recipe Club: Bacon Cheeseburger Chowder

It's August, and as I write and schedule this post, it is amazing that it will go live after football starts, and the day before school starts.  The end of summer, the beginning of fall.  I commented to J recently that this will be my 36th Back to School.  I've never done anything since I was 5 but go back to school in September.  This year will be no exception.  Today's weather was even reminiscent of fall - we didn't reach 70F.  I wore jeans and at one point considered finding a cardigan.  It's August.  I KNOW.  J says it's to get me ready for school again.  I say it's a cruel, cruel joke in the middle of my vacation.  Ahem.
This month for my Secret Recipe Club assignment, I was given the wonderful Wildflour's Cottage Kitchen.  Kelly lives on a lake in New Jersey with her husband and the really cute Gilbert the wonder kitty.  I'm guessing he's as spoiled as the cat here - and he had an even more traumatic experience than Missy's voyage in the washing machine before arriving in his current home.
I had a good time looking through Kelly's blog, trying to choose something to make.  I'd had in my head that I wanted to make a dessert, preferably ice cream from the blog I was assigned in September.  I'm not sure why I decided this before knowing whose blog I would be perusing, but I did.  And none of the desserts spoke to me.
I mean, the butter rum ice cream sauce sounded divine, and the Peppermint Fudge Brownies looked really good too.  I'll need to make them in the future.  But as I poked around, and looked at the weather for this week, I finally settled on this delicious sounding soup.
I don't often make cream soups.  I'm much more likely to make something broth-based and full of vegetables and pasta.  When I read this, I wanted to try it - with just a couple of modifications.  I'm not a fan of Velveeta or cabbage, and it sounded that there was a lot of butter and cream going on.  But like all good Secret Recipe Club recipes, it demanded that I dirty every dish in my kitchen.
And the taste?  So good.
I present to you now from Wildflour's Cottage Kitchen Bacon Cheeseburger Chowder:

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Bride of Magazine Challenge: September Planning

J calls this time of year bittersweet:  he misses the warm weather, but it's now football season.  I don't really think that way: I'm going back to school, and I'm not always sure that I want to be.  Summer is a time of sleeping in, cooking and getting things done sssllllllooooooowwwwllllyyyy.  But the structure of getting up and going to work is probably just as well.  I'm sure J's just as happy that I'm going back too.  He and the cat can get back into their routine that doesn't include me.
The September issue of Everyday Food is full of "family favourites" which is kind of back to school-y.  There are a few things that can be frozen, and as always a couple of desserts that I'm more than ready to enjoy.  Here's to back to school!  Here's to seasonal weather and pumpkin spice lattes!  Here's to what I want to make from the September 2006 issue of Everyday Food!

  • Spice Grilled Chicken
  • Buttermilk Baked Chicken with Spinach Salad
  • Pork Tenderloin with Apple and Onion
  • Wilted Spinach and Cherry Tomatoes
  • Shredded Pork Tacos
  • Cranberry Oat Cereal Bars
  • Giant Chocolate Chip Cookies

Friday, August 29, 2014

Freezer Friendly: Cheddar-Beef Pastry Pockets

I have been loving the Taste of Home magazine I bought.  I'm starting to think that I should batch cook once a month and then eat the fruits of my labour over the following month.  Or, batch cook over a week, doing what I've done this month making half and eating half.  I'm going to need to look through the magazine for what else I need to try.
I have a habit of making a roast and usually end up freezing the heel, figuring that I'll come up with something to do with it eventually.  I finally emptied all the ziploc bags out of the top of my freezer to figure out what exactly I'd been saving for "eventually".  Leftover grilled pork tenderloin becomes pork fried rice.  Leftover ham goes into frittatas.  But leftover roast beef?  I've never been sure what to do with it.
Enter this recipe.  Leftover roast makes so much more sense than buying a refrigerated roast au jus, discarding/finding another use for the jus, and chopping up the roast.  I also switched out the cheese for one I buy more often, and changed the vegetables for ones I eat.  Let's say that the inspiration came from Taste of Home.
Either way, we enjoyed these.  I present to you now Cheddar-Beef Pastry Pockets:

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Bride of Magazine Challenge: Glazed Cheese Croissants

J says I need to go back to work.  I'm not sure I agree, but I do know these things:
  1. I am starting to bake things in the morning for breakfast, just because
  2. I am starting to become a recluse in the house because I can
  3. I probably need more to do with my time than cook, pin things on Pinterest, and play on Facebook
  4. I cramp the style and routine of my husband and the cat
As a result, J is talking more and more about my going back full time.  I don't think he realizes what happens when I'm not here to do dishes and make interesting things for lunch.  But time will tell.
I have been intrigued by these croissants for a while, and just hadn't gotten around to making them.  They're interesting because of their limited ingredients, their lack of leavening, and the fact that when rolled out and rolled up they remind me of the crescent rolls my mom made when I was little.
So on the last Friday of my vacation, I made these for breakfast, and they were yummy.  I hope you like them too.  
From the April 2006 issue of Everyday Food, I present to you now Glazed Cheese Croissants:

Monday, August 25, 2014

Freezer Friendly: Salisbury Steak Meatballs

You know what I'm finding with the things that I've been making for my freezer?  They all smell amazing.  This recipe is no exception.  I made this one morning this week, when I had a meeting in the afternoon, and I figured that if this was freezer-friendly, I could make this, refrigerate, and reheat for dinner.  By the time I finished making this, I was sorry that it wasn't for lunch.  It smelled amazing.
As I've said before, J loves meatloaf.  He's already requested that I make it "sometime this fall".  I'm not huge on it, but will make it from time to time, eat it the first night, and then leave it for J to eat for lunch for a couple of days.  He wanted to know today if maybe next time I could make a meatloaf recipe for the meatballs.  Frankly, this is essentially a meatloaf recipe sans Onion Soup Mix.  That would be okay too.
And the reason I'm not fond of meatloaf after night one?  It never reheats well, and I always get the cold spot.  Ew.  Reheated meatballs in gravy?  Much less likely to happen.  Huzzah.
I always enjoy reading the Pioneer Woman, but I've never really made her recipes before.  This was easy and delicious.  My meatballs didn't look quite so great as hers - but that wouldn't affect the taste.  Or, you know, I think mine were as good as how the picture probably tasted.  If the food was screaming hot.
I present to you now the Pioneer Woman's Salisbury Steak Meatballs:

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Planning: August 24-29, 2014

I start work full-time again tomorrow.  While I realize that it sounds like I'm whining, I do like my job.  I just find that being home is so much more appealing.  Especially when I still get paid every two weeks.  To that end, this is the last week of making freezer food before we start eating freezer food as a complement to some fresh things.  Football weekends also start next Friday.  Plans get shorter as we're away 7 weekends between now and the end of November.
This week is a bit of an odd clean out the freezer week.  I found a recipe that makes something for the freezer that uses leftover roast beef.  I knew that there was leftover roast in the freezer...and I found some.  Along with the end of a grilled pork tenderloin and a single slice of ham.  I'm planning to use up all 3 this week.  Here's how:
Sunday:  Beef Pastry Pockets.  I told J that these are essentially savory pop tarts.  I hope they're as good as pop tarts.  They're freezable for a quick dinner.
Monday:  Bacon Chicken Ranch Taquitos.  Bacon and Ranch.  How could these be bad?  A new recipe, also freezable.
Tuesday: Pork Fried Rice.
Wednesday:  Grilled steak and potatoes.  I have guitar lesson, so we need something simple.
Thursday:  Buffalo Chicken pizza.  So yummy, nice and simple. 
For the last lunch plans I will write for a while, we're having leftovers, frittata, and leftover pizza.
For dessert, I want to make zucchini bread this week.  I may also make a batch of cookies one evening if there's time.
Looks like a great week.  Let's see what happens!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Freezer Friendly: Baked Spaghetti

It's been nice to have some unseasonable weather the past couple of weeks.  It's not good pool weather, but we've been out in the hot tub in the evening, and I seem to be making a variety of heavier foods that I can freeze.  Heavier food and hot weather don't really mix.
On the nights in between my freezer forays, I've been grilling and making things that are a little lighter.  But this week, the push is on before I return to work full time.  Bring on the unseasonably cold!  Then warm up on Friday for the BBQ Saturday!  One day, I will be able to control the weather, even if it's not today.
J and I both like spaghetti, and I've talked about making a batch of sauce for the freezer.  It's one of my go-to desperation meals around here...I always have pasta and a bottle or 2 of sauce in the house.  We also buy garlic bread at Costco so it's hiding in the freezer when we want some too.  When I got the Taste of Home freezer magazine, this recipe caught my eye because it looked like it made a ton and was so easy looking.  I also figured I could make it in 8" pans instead of a 9x13".  One to eat now, one to save in the freezer for a busy night.
I present to you now from Betty Rabe of Mahtomedi, MN via Taste of Home Baked Spaghetti:

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Magazine Challenge: Mini Cherry-Pecan Loaves

I like to bake.  That shouldn't be much of a surprise.  I think the thing about baking is that it's therapeutic.  There's a precision and exactness about baking that requires a concentration that isn't always a part of life.  I'm not sure what exactly I'm in therapy for at the moment, but I still love to spend time in the kitchen baking.
I marked this recipe at the end of last year as something I wanted to make.  I'm not sure why exactly I waited this long to make it, other than there were so many other things to make.  It's an easy enough recipe, with things that I often find around here to bake with.  Kind of like a coffee cake batter made into mini loaves.  My mini loaf pan is small enough that a loaf will give 2 nice sized slices for J and I for dessert.  With a cup of tea, it's a perfect afternoon snack.
I present to you now from the December 2005 issue of Everyday Food Mini Cherry-Pecan Loaves:

Monday, August 18, 2014

Bride of Magazine Challenge: Rustic Plum Tart

I am happy to announce that this is the first month that I have completed 6 recipes from the corresponding Everyday Food issue since I started the Magazine Challenge!  Mind you, this is a 2 month issue, but by the same token it's exciting to think that 18 months into the project I've managed to complete my goal.
My mother has been here for a few days, and needed to make a dessert to take with her to a cousin reunion.  I was excited to suggest this, seeing as J isn't a big fan of plums and I thought it looked pretty.  I had another reason to suggest making this with my mother:  she is the queen of pastry.
When my parents got married, my mother said she would make a pie on the 7th of each month - their anniversary.  She's made a pie on the 7th of the month for more than 40 years.  As opposed to my own pastry, hers is flaky and tender.  While this isn't the pastry from the box like my mom makes, or even a traditional lard pastry, I figured she'd know what she was doing.  Plus, with the rustic look of this we couldn't screw it up too much.
Or so I thought.
I present to you now from the July/August 2006 issue of Everyday Food Rustic Plum Tart:

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Planning: August 17-22, 2014

I'm starting back to work this week.  With the weather as it has been for the past little bit, I'm not sure how sad I am about this.  It means that I will cook less, but we'll start eating out of the freezer soon!  When I came home from the grocery store, J informed me that we aren't allowed to move any time soon because there's no way we'd be able to eat to the bottom of the freezer quickly!
To that end, you'd think I wouldn't be making freezer-friendly food this week, and yet I am.  We are having a pool party and BBQ next Saturday, and there's a box of burgers and a couple of Costco-sized bags of buns in the freezer right now.  Removing those will make space for the things I'm making this week to put into the freezer.
So here's what we're planning to eat on the Mountain this week:
Sunday:  Garlic-Marinated Chicken, grilled potatoes and vegetables
Monday:  Baked Spaghetti - this is a freezer recipe, so make one to eat and one to freeze
Tuesday:  Bacon Chicken Ranch Taquitos (from Pinterest) - also a freezer recipe
Wednesday:  Salisbury Steak Meatballs, buttered noodles and broccoli - also a freezer recipe
Thursday:  Beef Pastry Pockets - also for the freezer
Friday:  Pizza
Lunches are leftovers, sandwiches, frittata, and soup.
Dessert:  Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream, Raspberry Cream Sandwich cookies, Cherry-Pecan Loaf

Looks like a good week!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Freezer Friendly: Chicken Spinach Dip Bread Bowls

I'm still working on stocking the freezer.  We went to Costco last week in preparation for a couple of pool parties that we're hosting over the month, and so I have some big bags of hamburger and bot dog buns in the freezer, along with boxes of burgers.  They're taking up space I would like to be filling with food for the fall.  Things are looking fairly full at the moment.  But that hasn't deterred me from making something new to freeze.
I went back to Walmart and bought the Taste of Home Ultimate Meals from the Freezer.  They have a section on how/what to freeze, and lots of recipes that are not all baked pasta dishes to try.  I've marked a few things for the next little bit that look yummy, and are all freezer friendly.  I've also taken their suggestion to heart and started an inventory of my freezer.  Perhaps then I won't end up with 3 pork tenderloins on the bottom as I have right now.
J and I both enjoy appetizers.  When we're here for a Saturday during football season, we often will have a few weeks where I put out veggies and dip, crackers and cheese, some sort of snack mix and we graze as we watch TV.  The focal point usually is a hot baked dip and tortilla chips.  While I have never made a baked spinach and artichoke dip, we have enjoyed it elsewhere.
I looked at this recipe, and it looked delicious.  With the vegetables that are included, it's almost a complete meal in one dish.  We agreed that if serving for company, we would probably add a green salad, but this will stand up on its own.  As a bonus, it makes 2 bowls that will make 8-10 servings.  1 for now, 1 for the freezer.  Because it smells amazing.  There's no way you'd want to freeze both of these at once and just enjoy the aromas in the present.
I present to you now from Taste of Home, Merry Graham's Chicken Spinach Dip Bread Bowls:

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Bride of Magazine Challenge: Chocolate-Ricotta Icebox Cake

We had people over last weekend for a BBQ and a swim.  When I say "people", that should really be synonymous with "guinea pigs to help us eat things that I won't make for just 2 people."  Luckily, my best friend from elementary school, her husband and kids and my mom are all well aware of the fact that coming to my house means trying things that are new and may not work out.
Part of the fun in trying new recipes is that you never know exactly how things are going to work out.  The pictures always look fantastic, but between home execution, differences in ingredients and weather, and general poor writing of instructions things don't always turn out as planned.  If you come to my house for a meal, more likely than not you're going to be eating something that hasn't been made here on the mountain before.  A sense of adventure can be important.
It was with this sense of adventure that I started reading the comments on Martha's website for this cake.  "A bite of banality" was one review, and there were a bunch more for how tasteless and horrible the cake was.  I took none of the suggestions for improving the cake and soldiered on.  There were going to be 5 extra people to help eat a 10 serving cake that I could check off as a part of the Magazine Challenge.  How bad could it be?
I present to you now from the July/August 2006 issue of Everyday Food, Chocolate-Ricotta Icebox Cake:

Monday, August 11, 2014

Bride of Magazine Challenge: Goat Cheese and Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta

When I told J today that dinner would be meatless, he got really quiet.  My husband is a meat eater, if nothing else. He asked me if we'd need something else to go with the pasta, and I told him no.  With garlic bread and a salad, this was a nice, quick dinner.
I didn't do exactly what the recipe said.  I couldn't find sundried tomatoes that weren't in oil, so I started improvising.  I also halved the recipe to serve 2.  I don't regret my decisions.  We both enjoyed dinner...and were satisfied.  Go figure.
I present to you now from the June 2006 issue of Everyday Food, Goat Cheese and Sundried Tomato Pasta:

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Planning: August 9 - 14, 2014

J and I are staying on the eating at home kick.  It's been good so far.  The challenge is to keep it good after I return to work.  Luckily, there's another week before I start easing myself back in.  I haven't been sleeping well (I am having trouble falling asleep), so I'm hoping that getting back into a schedule can help with that too.
Yesterday, we went to Walmart after other things, and I got myself a fun new magazine to play with from Taste of Home.  It's all things for the freezer!  We're up to enchiladas and burritos in there right now for the fall, and I've made an frozen an experiment to see what I think that will be coming up soon if it worked out.  I spent a good deal of time poring over the magazine and looking for things that we might like and would work for us.  I've incorporated 2 into this week's plan.
My mother is also coming this week, and we're planning a BBQ with friends for Saturday night.  That amounts to extra dessert and some new recipes with people to help eat them up.  Here's the plan for this week:
SaturdayDinner:  BBQ with friends - Burgers, Hot Dogs, Vegetables and dip, Chips, Lemonade, Ice Cream Cones and Chocolate Ricotta Icebox Cake.
We're going to the ballgame with my mom.  We're eating the frozen experiment for breakfast with fruit salad, and I don't know what dinner will be.  Lunch is a sausage from a vendor outside the Rogers Centre.
Lunch  Mom is staying with us, so macaroni and cheese for lunch with leftover vegetables from Saturday night, and a dessert of some description.  I don't know...cookies?
Dinner:  Chicken Spinach Dip Bread Bowl (from the frozen dinner magazine), salad, and leftover Icebox Cake
Lunch:  Leftover Bread Bowl.
Dinner:  Steak and Potato Salad
Lunch:  Frittata.  I didn't make one this past week.  With the other vegetables I need for this week, this will use up the odds and ends from the fridge.
Dinner:  Provolone Beef Pastry Pockets.  This is also from the frozen dinner magazine.  They look interesting.  I'm hoping J thinks they're worth it.
Lunch:  Not sure...that's not a good sign.
Dinner:  Grilled Sausage on a bun, salad.
DessertI've thought about Peach Cobbler, I still haven't made the Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream, I'd like to make and freeze some of the Cherry Pecan Streusel Loaves, and perhaps a batch of cookies that I haven't decided on yet.
Looks good!  Let's see what happens.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Bride of Magazine Challenge: Raspberry Buckle

It's fruit season.  While J enjoys some fruit out of hand, there's not a whole lot of it.  He likes blueberries and blackberries.  Um, he might eat a couple of strawberries.  That's about it.  Whereas I like most summer fruits.
The raspberries right now are spectacular.  J commented today that this is the wettest summer that he remembers in a long time.  As a result, there's been lots of good looking produce.  With how the raspberries are looking, we needed to give them a try.  When the buckle came out of the oven, the only question was whether or not I was planning to serve whipped cream with this dessert.  The answer was a resounding yes.
I spent a little bit of time looking for the origins of the name buckle, and while I discovered that it is a seasonal dessert with rich yellow cake and fresh fruit that is popular in New England, that's about all the wisdom of the interwebs taught me.  All I know is that it's yummy.
I present to you now from the July/August 2006 issue of Everyday Food Raspberry Buckle:

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Bride of Magazine Challenge: Tex Mex Beef Enchiladas

I organized our freezer today.  Somehow, I have managed to accumulate 3 whole pork tenderloins.  I mean, there are a lot of things I can do with pork tenderloin, but I don't always think when I see them on sale.  I actually didn't have as many surprises in the bottom as I was afraid of.  But I do see some tortellini and ravioli dishes in our future.
Now that things down there are organized, it's time to start filling it with things that will be ready for fall when I don't feel like cooking.  J and I were talking today about when the last time was that we went out for dinner.  We think it was the night we came home from Seattle.  That's a good thing.  I keep reminding myself about how I will be grateful when football season is here and there's money for a hotel room...or tailgate supplies from Zingerman's.
Here is the first thing that I've made to fill the freezer.  I made a double batch (numbers reflected in the recipe below) so we could eat and see how they were, and freeze half.  I don't know why I decided to try a new enchilada sauce when the last from Budget Bytes was so successful, but I did.  It's okay (J really liked it), but I like Beth's better.  To each their own.
What I do know is that I'll be happy to pull this out and have dinner that we both like in a reasonably short amount of time.
I present to you now from the June 2006 issue of Everyday Food, Tex-Mex Beef Enchiladas:

Monday, August 4, 2014

Bride of Magazine Challenge: Tandoori-Style Chicken Burgers

I'm a little sad as I write this.  Today is Reveal Day for my group over at the Secret Recipe Club.  I opted out for this month, thinking I would be away in July and not around to make and blog a recipe.  By the time I realized I was wrong, the sign up was closed and I was signing up for September's reveal.  So, next month we'll return to cooking yummy things from new and different blogs.  In the meantime, I still am making new things.
Of the 8 things I listed that I want to make from the July/August 2006 issue of Everyday Food, I have now made 3 things, and the 2 months that I have before I fall behind are half over.  One of the articles in this issue was burgers - and not just beef, but turkey and chicken and pork.  With the success of the Cheddar Horseradish burgers of a few weeks ago, I had high hopes for these.  I'm not sure J was quite so sure.
J came into the kitchen while I was sitting at a TV tray that I had appropriated for using my meat grinder and asked what I was doing.  When I explained, he didn't look too sure about what we were doing for dinner.  But he likes tzatziki and my homemade pitas, so it was really all about whether or not he would like the chicken.  When they were done grilling, they smelled amazing.  After the first one, I was told I could make these again.  I'd call that a win.
I present to you now from the July/August 2006 issue of Everyday Food Tandoori-Style Chicken Burgers:

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Planning: August 3-8, 2014

Now that we're back and doing stuff again, it's time to start cooking again.  My mother and I traded produce this weekend:  I bought her sour cherries for making pies (there weren't any in her part of the world, but I got them in a 10 lb pail at the grocery store), and she bought me my dill pickle making supplies.  I brought the dill home, put it in a juice jug of water and put it up on the top of the china cabinet so the cat can't nibble on it.  She now stands in the dining room on the table, looking at the top of the china cabinet and crying.  She's not spoiled in the slightest.
I'm also planning to start the freezing plan this week, so we're making some extra to freeze.  Here are the plans here on the mountain this week about what we'll be eating:


  • Lunch - Leftover Tandoori-Style Chicken burgers (recipe tomorrow.  They're stunning!) and lime cheesecake bars
  • Dinner - We were commenting the other day that we hadn't had chili dogs in a while, so we're having Rudy's 
  • Lunch - Easy, because I'm making pickles this morning. I'm thinking sandwiches.  Although when I look at this, that's 3 meals in a row of sandwiches.
  • Dinner - Garlic Marinated Chicken with grilled potatoes and asparagus
  • Lunch - Bean burritos, seeing as I'm making them for the freezer
  • Dinner - Goat Cheese and Sundried Tomato Pasta and Garlic bread
  • Lunch - Frittata.  It's amazing what I unearthed while cleaning out the top of the fridge.  I have a couple of single slices of ham that I think will be best chopped and use in this way.
  • Dinner - Tex-Mex Beef Enchiladas.   I'm making a double batch to freeze
  • Lunch - Wonton Soup.  I keep threatening to make this.  I might actually get that far this week.
  • Dinner - Leftover Enchiladas
  • Lunch - Leftover Soup
  • Dinner - Chicken Fajita Salad and Garlic Bread
I want to make Cherry Pecan Streusel mini loaves, Peanut Butter Chocolate Ice Cream, Raspberry Buckle, and Chocolate Ricotta Icebox Cake. The loaves are for freezing for later, but the rest is for eating.

I think it will be a great week if we can stay on track.  We'll see how it goes!

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Fall Planning: Stocking the Freezer

It is a month today that I return to work.  A.  Month.  Today.  I'm working on not being sad.  Frankly, I return to work before then.  September 2 is the date that students return for classes and we start the next academic year.  I am already starting to panic.
J and I have been discussing how much we spend on eating out.  It's frightening.  In an average week, we probably spend $120.  How crazy is that?  That would be an average week.  In a week where I'm going mach 9 with my hair on fire and I'm so exhausted that I can't think straight, it would be way worse.  This is a trend that needs to stop.
Football season is almost upon us.  Starting at the end of August, we will be away 7 weekends.  Think of how far the restaurant money could take us in terms of hotels, parking and food.  We have resolved to do better in terms of stocking the freezer with items that will keep us from putting on our shoes, picking up the car keys and heading out for dinner.
When we were at Walmart last week, I saw a Taste of Home magazine of freezer-friendly foods.  I need to go back and pick it up for some more ideas, but I've been perusing past recipes here on the blog as well as on Pinterest of things that I want to make this coming month to prepare for the fall.  We've continued to work on eating to the bottom of the freezer, and so we're now ready for the restock.
Here are some of the things I've come up with that I've made in the past to freeze for easy meals that we enjoy:

I've also been busy pinning on Pinterest.  Here's what I've come up with that I'd like to try:
  • Homemade Egg McMuffins
  • Salisbury Steak Meatballs
  • Chicken Bacon Ranch Taquitos
  • Tex-Mex Enchiladas (this is Magazine Challenge material!)
  • Prosciutto and Cheddar Hot Pockets
I would also like to freeze some muffins and cookies so there's something else around for breakfast or dessert.  

What do you like to hide in the freezer for nights of desperation?

Friday, August 1, 2014

Bride of Magazine Challenge: Lime Cheesecake Squares

J and I are back from Seattle.  It was a wonderful trip, visiting with his cousins, seeing the sights, eating and drinking too much, and getting sunburned.  In Seattle.  I KNOW.
But we are back for a short stay before heading off overnight to a baseball game in Detroit.  We may not have gone far for long, but we're going away a little more than usual.  That's okay.  It's not been warm enough to swim, and the pool is currently undergoing a treatment for algae.  We might as well be on the road.
It's no surprise that I love dessert.  I don't have quite the sweet tooth of my mother, but we eat dessert here most nights. It gives me more of a chance to bake.  When I saw this recipe in the June 2006 issue of Everyday Food, I figured it was worth a look.
The ingredients are basic.  I went to buy a lemon at the grocery store today, and they were looking pretty sad.  Like, shriveled and not worth it sad.  So I bought a lime.   Greek yogurt cream cheese was on sale, so that's what went in.  Eggs, sugar, butter and graham crackers?  All things from the cupboard.  All desserts should be this easy.
Well, maybe not.  Fussy desserts are fun to make and eat too.  But you know, if you have a craving on a Tuesday, these would work.
I present to you now from the June 2006 issue of Everyday Food Lime Cheesecake Squares:

Friday, July 25, 2014

Quick Dinner: Chicken and Bean Taco Bake

It's summer, and that means I have time for things like phone calls with friends who I don't connect with often enough.  I had one of those such phone calls this week, and one of the many things we talked about in the hour we spent on the phone was cleaning out the freezer.  Apparently, my friend defrosts her freezer every summer.  She was cooking a turkey this week on her way to the bottom.
Since we moved 2 years ago, I have plugged my chest freezer in and put things in it.  While I am not planning to defrost my freezer anytime soon, I too would like to eat to the bottom of it over the summer.  Thankfully, I also don't have a turkey seeing as I'm the only person here who would eat it.  But perhaps I should defrost from time to time.  What would I do with everything in the freezer while I do that though?
This recipe, however, can help you clean out the freezer if your freezer is anything like mine.  I used up the end of packages of tortillas, cooked chicken that was hiding in a ziploc bag, and a bag of the pinto beans that I cooked in the crock pot last winter.
On a night where you need to clean out the freezer, and really don't have much time, I would recommend this.  J and I enjoyed it.
I present to you now Picky Palate's Chicken and Bean Taco Bake:

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Bride of Magazine Challenge: Cheddar Horseradish Burgers

In theory, it's summer here.  The thermometer will tell you differently, but from time to time it's warm enough to go out and take a dip in the pool.  In the two years that we have lived in this house, we've had two of the craziest summers ever for owning a pool.  Last year, we went to New York City for our vacation.  We were gone for a week.  That was the week in July when it was 100.  And we were walking around NYC.  We came home the day the weather broke and jumped in the pool that afternoon.  Then it became unseasonably cold and damp for our kitchen renovation and instead of spending it in the pool I spent it sitting on the couch.  This year, we have once again had cooler than normal temperatures with days of 80+ weather.  The pool is beautiful in the middle of the backyard, but not really warm enough for swimming unless we're willing to run the heater most of the time and I'm way too cheap for that.  The weatherman is promising that things are about to improve.  Just in time for us to go to Seattle for vacation.  But between now and departure, we are supposed to have some more "normal" days in which to get in the water and swim.
One of the things that we like to do on weekends when it is promising is invite people over to swim and BBQ.  We usually just do burgers on the grill, and usually boxed ones at that for ease.  While looking through the July/August 2006 of Everyday Food, however, I found an article on a few different burgers that looked promising.  While not all are things that turn our cranks (turkey burgers were quickly nixed), these sounded delicious.  The day I made them, however, it rained again and I ended up using the Foreman instead of the backyard grill.  Next time.  And J has made me promised that there will be a next time.
From the July/August 2006 issue of Everyday Food, I present to you now Cheddar-Horseradish Burgers:

Monday, July 21, 2014

Bride of Magazine Challenge: Pasta Salad with Broccoli and Peanuts

I love being home for the summer.  I'm not always as motivated as I should be, but that's beside the point.  The long and the short of it is that I enjoy spending time in the house, cooking and slowly getting done the large number of projects around here that there never seems to be time to complete.
One of the things about being home for the summer is that I need to make lunches as well as dinners. While J believes that there should be meat at every meal, I am always on the lookout for recipes that use less meat or are meatless because I know that our consumption is probably higher than it should be.
When looking back through the issues of Everyday Food, one of the things I found were dinner salads that I had earmarked for making that were meat free.  This salad here is a case in point.  The protein is from the peanut butter and chopped nuts that are sprinkled over the salad.  Serving it warm the first day also makes it seem more of a meal and less of a side dish.
While I can't make this during the school year and take it to work because of allergies, it was a nice lunch for a couple of days this month.
I present to you now from the May 2006 issue of Everyday Food, Pasta Salad with Broccoli and Peanuts:

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Planning: July 19-23, 2014

J and I are about to go on vacation.  Originally, we were to be gone 3-4 weeks on a cross-country road tripping journey that I'd really been looking forward to.  We're still going to Seattle, but by air for a long weekend.  I'm sure it will be fun, but I still want to visit Mount Rushmore.
Despite the fact that we're really going to be gone only 5ish days, I'm working on cleaning out the fridge like we're going away for 3 weeks.  We seems to have a good deal of stuff lurking from other things I've made recently.  That does mean, however, that I need to buy rolls and maybe butter at the grocery store this week.  Kind of a nice side benefit, seeing as we've spent a good deal on food in the past couple of weeks.
Here's what we're eating on the mountain this week as we get ready to spend some time visiting family out west:
SaturdayLunch - Hot dogs, chips, pickles, and the end of the carrot and celery sticks I found soaking in the back of the fridge.
Dinner - Pork Fried Rice.  I grilled pork tenderloin late last week.
SundayLunch - Bean and Tortilla Salad and garlic bread.  We're going to the movies in the afternoon for the Monty Python broadcast, so we'll be having junk then.  I want Junior Mints!
Dinner - Grilled Chicken, Foil Potatoes and Broccoli
MondayLunch - J's going out.  I'll be eating whatever I find.
Dinner - Volcano Sanwiches, chips and the end of the dill pickles that I made 2 years ago.
TuesdayLunch - Leftover Pork Fried Rice
Dinner - Vietnamese Steak Sandwiches, salad
WednesdayLunch - There will be something, or bacon and eggs.
Dinner - We're on vacation!  
DessertChocolate Chip Cookies, Chocolate Peanubutter Ice Cream, Chocolate Chip-Cherry Muffins
Should be a good week.  We'll see how it goes!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Got Milk? Cream Cheese Pumpkin Muffins

I made jam last week.  2 kinds - strawberry and strawberry-rhubarb.  Seeing as I just used the recipe that came with the Certo, there's no reason to post, other than to say it's delicious, and you should hope you're on my Christmas list.  J was astounded with the amount of sugar that I went through in 2 days making jam.  But really, when the recipe is fruit, sugar, and pectin and you got 14-15 bottles of jam, what can you expect?
The reason I bother to tell you about the jam is that it shut down my cooking.  Completely and utterly.  After being so busy in the kitchen I started doing nothing.  But there was a sort of reason, namely these muffins.
Last Saturday morning I got up and started to measure everything out for these muffins.  I made the filling and froze it, lined the 2 muffin trays, stirred together the flour and spices with a fork, and then reached for the sugar....
...and was half a cup short.
While this shouldn't really have derailed things, it totally did.  I added sugar to my grocery list and assumed that I would go later Saturday.  But I floated in the pool and enjoyed the weather.  So we talked of going on Sunday.  But we went for a drive and to enjoy the weather.  You get the idea.
Finally, we went to the grocery store and I bought my sugar, but I had become accustomed to moving the muffin things I'd set out around my kitchen so I could cook other meals; and so I put off making these muffins again.
This morning, I came down earlier than usual to make sure everything that needed to go out with the garbage.  I saw the bowls on the counter and decided it was time to have warm muffins with my coffee for breakfast.  Just under a week after I started the process.
I would recommend that you don't wait as long as I did to make these.  They're great.  But if you do wait until you have enough sugar and your motivation to return, I won't judge.
I present to you now The Girl Who Ate Everything's Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins:

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Weeknight Dinner: Blackened Tilapia

I don't cook fish for J as often as I've promised in the past.  His cardiologist told him at one point that he should eat fish 2 or 3 times a week.  I promised to try and cook fish once a week.  I'm not great about the follow through.  Fish will never be my favourite.
Tilapia is not a particularly strong fish, and will often take on the flavour of anything that has been cooked with it.  In the past, I've used tilapia for fish tacos and coated it in cornmeal and served it with salsa.  The spices of this version were lovely, and J and I both enjoyed it.
Once again, I found a recipe on Budget Bytes that was quick, easy, and fish for those of us who don't enjoy it.
I present to you now Budget Bytes' Blackened Tilapia:

Monday, July 14, 2014

Take Out at Home: Buffalo Chicken Pizza

While J and I both like pizza, I don't often make it at home.  He will often order a pizza when I have a dinner meeting, so we don't go out for pizza much.  When we do, we usually order a large so there will be leftovers the next day.  The nice thing about making pizza at home is that we also have leftovers for the next day.  Sometimes when we go out, I'll order an individual pizza for myself.  I like unorthodox ingredients, and have sampled a few different Buffalo chicken pizzas, but my complaint is always the same:  restaurants use their Buffalo chicken fingers, and the breading is just too much with everything else.
While cruising Budget Bytes, I found this recipe for a Buffalo Chicken pizza.  I love Beth's recipes, I love Buffalo could this not be a winner?  Even my suspicion of cream sauce as a base could not deter me from the ultimate objective which was a delicious dinner that J and I would both enjoy.
How do I know he enjoyed?  I've been asked to make this again, and I probably will.  For football season on a day that we're here and sitting in front of the TV for 12 hours of college football's best.  Or perhaps an afternoon of NFL.  What I do know is this:  the cream sauce sets everything else off to a T, and I can't imagine making this any other way.
I present to you now Budget Bytes' Buffalo Chicken Pizza:

Friday, July 11, 2014

Bride of Magazine Challenge: Potatoes Vinaigrette

It's no secret that I'm suspicious of cream sauces and dressings.  I'm not a fan of creamy salads or spreads on sandwiches.  Frankly, I prefer things I've made myself so I know exactly what's in them.
Summer salads often run into this problem for me, especially at a BBQ or picnic.  I would prefer to add my own dressing, and I skip the salads for the raw vegetables that I'll often eat without the dip (I'll also eat salad leaves straight out of the serving bowl.  I like plain raw vegetables)
J sometimes talks about his mother's potato salad, and how she'd use mustard and little to no mayonnaise.  I never make potato salad, so when I saw this it reminded me of J's talking about a mustard based potato salad.
It also reminded me of France, where I had a host mother who would take leftover boiled potatoes and cooked haricots verts, and toss them in a dijon vinaigrette for lunch on Sunday.  Frankly, it reminded me most of eating outside on a sunny day in France.  Good times.
I present to you now from the June 2006 issue of Everyday Food, Potatoes Vinaigrette: