Pretty much every month I can’t believe it is over. September was fun and full. Work is pretty busy gearing up for our big Thanksgiving event. Mr. J and I celebrated our 3 year anniversary on the 17th! I’m so thankful that I no longer have to travel for work. I’ve been home the whole month of September which I haven’t been able to say in 5 years! It’s been great to hit the Big E and the farmer’s market, and some of the open studios.
How good does a deep fried Oreo look from the Big E?
Mr. J has been full steam ahead on house projects. I just keep seeing them coming off the list and I know the baby nursery will be soon! The front step was redone and Mr. J installed a new vanity in the bathroom.
I really loved embracing the best time to cook with seasonal produce. I found fantastic heirloom tomatoes and corn for a puff pastry tart that was simply perfect. Puff pastry with tomatoes, corn, and Seriously Sharp Cabot Cheddar went together perfectly.
I messed around with polenta paired with shrimp and tomatoes which reminded me how fast, cheap, and easy it is to work with.
I did some Hawaiian hot dogs with teryiaki and pineapple that were fun. Those flavors are so good together. I should use them more often.
I’m not sure what’s on top for next month. I hope to go apple picking and a friend’s pear tree is about ready so I want to get some of those. I’m thinking it is time for everything apple and pumpkin flavored!
Let’s check on my goals:
The Year of the Flower is going strong! this month clipped some hydrangeas from my parents’ tree
send more mail – Gram got a birthday card, so that counts
make some Pinterest pins a reality - I didn’t really make any but have one for next month!
cook with yeast (yikes!)try a spin class – um nope. I’m not sure I’m adding in any super new exercises at this point. I’m all about zumba now that my gym fall classes have increased. Zumba is now 3x a week! I’m aiming for zumba once or twice and some other workouts each week. So far so good!
make more cocktails – umm no cocktails for me until January but I did get a lemonade served out of a lemon stand at the Big E! Next month should be good for fall fun drinks.
I’m beyond halfway! I can’t believe it. I’m just over 6 months along. There’s not much time now! I feel like I doubled in size the last few weeks! Getting dressed takes a lot more creativity but I’ve gotten some clothes to give me enough options. I hadn’t really thought about gym clothes and pjs not fitting so I’ll likely have to invest in those & something dressy. The baby is the size of cauliflower now! There’s been a lot of kicking lately.
Next month we’ll keep brainstorming names and get started on the baby’s room. We have a meet the delivery team & tour of the maternity area. Registering can’t be too far behind either.
I’ve been feeling great and trying to do as much as I can whenever I’m up for it. I’ve been very into zumba at the gym so I’ll try to keep that up as long as I can. I don’t remember any cravings this month…well, one night I had to try a caramel apple sundae. One take-out Chinese night I couldn’t even fathom biting into a crab rangoon. Other than those, no real cravings or aversions.
‘What I Ate’ is a series of posts for so-easy-this-doesn’t-need-a-recipe but I’m sharing with you for the idea or inspiration.
I whipped up this jazzed up butter after making corn bread muffins. I was thinking these flavors would be really good in corn bread, but since I’m not much of a baker I decided not to mess with the muffins. Messing with the butter seemed like like a safer option. Don’t ya think.
4 tbs butter, or butter substitute
1 tbs honey
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Mix room temperature butter, honey, and cinnamon together.
Chill until serving to solidify until serving.
I loved this. It tasted like fall! I had tons leftover and it was so perfect on toast. These cool mornings and the honey and cinnamon flavors made me so happy. I should junk up the butter more often! This one wasn’t beautiful but the berry ones on french toast….come on. So pretty!
check out these 6 fancy flavored butters
Pinterest has lots of compound butters
of course Martha makes fancy butter
I feel like an old person, but what will they think of next…ummm no thanks.
This eating all the emoji article cracked me up. I had no idea what some of the food was, or why they were important enough to have an emoji but this was so fascinating. She didn’t count the animals and stuck to actual food pics. It wasn’t a stunt to lose weight, just out of interest. Apparently it lacks bfast and there’s tons of alcoholic options and desserts.
I’m ready for all the fall things and for some reason, all the fall/harvest-y/seasonal decor has glitter. Why all the glitter? Pumpkins are so dang cute. Candy corn, delicious with no sparkle necessary. I open greeting cards carefully when I can tell there will be glitter. There’s no way I’m putting a wreath celebrating pumpkins and lovely colored leaves on my door if it’s covered in glitter. That means everytime I open the door I’ll encounter THE GLITTER. Of all holidays I think glitter is not necessary for halloween and I think Thanksgiving is about so much more. I just want it all to smell like apples, cinnamon, and pie.
I want to make this pumpkin coffee cake
and I might try my hand at a better caramel apple cider than this one I tried
it is time to go apple picking
easy pumpkin muffins are in order, or maybe pumpkin bread french toast
this year might be right for apple week since last year I did pumpkin week
there might be a pear picking party at Mrs. M’s house. What should I make featuring pears?
I just whipped up some fudge upon request from my dad and I wanted to go crazy with it, or just make some I hadn’t done before. Since it was his bday I figured I’d stick to chocolate and find out what other flavors would pass muster for the future. I added a few colored sprinkles on top and poof, it was birthday fudge.
I still wanted to jack up some fudge. I thought about cookies & cream, but I seem to always have mini marshmallows around so this proved timely.
Everyone loved the half chocolate half peanut butter one I did. Dad liked the mocha fudge I gave him for Christmas last year. I messed around making this s’more fuge and figured Mr. J would eat it since I had made some but given it all away.
1 cup sugar
1/2 container Fluff
1 small can evaporated milk
1/4 cup butter (I used a butter substitute and the texture was off, don’t do this)
1/4 tsp. salt
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 mini marshmallows
4 graham crackers, crumbled
Over medium heat, melt sugar, fluff, milk, butter, and salt together. Some bubbles will come up when the air is coming out.
Bring to a boil and boil, stirring consistently for 5 minutes.
Remove from the heat and stir in the chocolate chips until melted and mixed through.
Pour into a 9×9 baking dish that you’ve buttered, sprayed, or lined with parchment paper.
Top with marshmallows.
Top with graham crackers.
Let cool for at least 2 hours.
It gets firmer in the fridge, but then the marshmallows get a bit weird. They don’t seem to like life in the fridge. I made this a while ago…it was hot and also because I made the mistake of using a butter substitute it didn’t quite harden enough. It tasted great though. It is definitely “never fail fudge” if you follow the instructions. I had gotten as far as melting the marshmallow so it was too late to turn back, or I’d be figuring how to dispose of sticky melted marshmallow which seemed more challenging than taking the risk with not-real butter.
I love ordering mussels at restaurants. The freshness of the mussels and the flavorful broth with some kind of bread to sop it all up. I never made them because it seemed like one of those foods that you just get at restaurants, not something I’d make myself.
Spoiler alert: they were so easy and cheap.
1 pound Mussels
2 tbs garlic, minced
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup white wine
1 tbs butter
2 tbs lemon juice
2 tbs cream
1 tsp garlic powder
2 tbs fresh parsley, chopped
Rinse and debeard the mussels.
In a large pan over medium heat, add the garlic, broth, wine, butter, lemon juice, cream, and garlic powder.
Then add in the mussels and cover for 8 minutes.
Stir the mussels and check for any that didn’t open, discard those.
Serve them in a bowl and top with parsley and some crusty bread.
They were so good. I’d say they rival any restaurant I’ve had them in. It takes a lot to feel full so while they were my meal, that’s precisely why they’re always on the appetizer section of a menu.
What do you think of as a “restaurant food” that you have been hesitant to make yourself?
Before I get all apple & pumpkin obsessed I needed a few more farmer’s market treasures to get their highlights. That’s the beauty of this exact point in the season. The weather is blissful and rejuvenating. Produce is still at the peak with even more delights to come. I saw some really beautiful heirloom tomatoes that I knew wouldn’t be around even one week longer.
I used the tomatoes and some sweet corn with just a touch of seriously sharp cheddar. The soft puff pastry for the tart made this really easy but decadent.
1 sheet puff pastry
2 heirloom tomatoes
1 ear of corn
3 slices of cheddar cheese
Shuck and boil the corn cob until cooked through.
Slice the tomatoes and lay on paper towel for about 10 minutes.
Lay the puff pastry onto a baking sheet either sprayed with non-stick spray or ontop of a silicone mat or parchment paper.
Layer most of the cheddar on top of the pastry.
Then top with slices of tomato.
Top with corn.
Then layer with the rest of the tomato and rest of the corn.
Sprinkle on salt and pepper and remaining cheese.
Fold the edges around just over onto the filling. Pinch the crust together.
Bake 20-30 minutes at 350-degrees until the crust bakes through and browns.
I loved this. The puff pastry is so buttery that I thought it was perfect, though pie crust would work too. I didn’t want to overdo it on the cheese. It was such a fresh and comforting meal.
This would be fun as little cups in a muffin pan. Other veggies would be good: asparagus & corn; zucchini & tomato; tomato & basil.
‘What I Ate’ is a series of posts for so-easy-this-doesn’t-need-a-recipe but I’m sharing with you for the idea or inspiration.
I jazzed up some dogs just as summer was “ending” though there’s plenty of grilling season left. I should totally have done this combo sooner. Grilled dogs with pineapple & teriyaki sauce. I just want crazy toppings on everything right now.
I mixed up chopped red onion, pineapple, and just a touch of salsa.
Then I mixed honey, teriyaki marinade, and soy sauce. I eyeballed it, and went heavier on the honey than anything else.
The tang of the teriyaki, the sweet pineapple, and crunch of the red onion went perfectly with the dog and soft roll. There are so many topping options besides the regular mustard/relish.
These were fun. I love a good theme. Flying on Jess Fuel made some Banh Mi Hot Dogs that looked incredible. A nacho-y one would be fun or I did one with avocado, leftover corn cut off the cob, and ranch for a Californian Dog. Food themes are the only time old stereotypes are permissible, right?
I love appetizers for dinner. I make pizza all the time but I was thinking of something different and decided on putting the best favors into eggroll wrappers. They’re kind of pizza kind of lasagna, kind of just Italian flavored. I don’t know what box to put them in!
1/2 pound Italian sausage, removed from the casing
1 cup ricotta
1 cup tomato sauce
1 cup mozzarella
Pan fry the sausage, crumbling it and cooking it all the way through and sprinkling with dried oregano. Then drain on paper towel.
Lay the eggroll wrappers out and on a diagonal, to opposite corners, top with mozzarella, ricotta, sausage, and sauce.
Fold the opposite corners in and fold the bottom across the filling. Then roll toward the top corner. Be sure none of the filling escapes out the edges.
Pan fry in shallow oil or spray with nonstick spray and bake. (I baked at 375-degrees flipping on all sides).
Let cool 5 minutes. Serve with more sauce for dipping.
These freeze well too, then pop in the oven when you need lunch, dinner, or a hefty appetizer. I should have more of these things prepped & hanging out in the freezer. I really loved having some as a what-to-have-for-lunch on a weekend day. I’m currently working on going through the freezer so I can clear room for ready made stuff, though this babe is just past halfway so I have a little time for January freezer prep.
pizza rolls – sausage + chopped pepperoni = pepperoni pizza rolls
pizza rolls + green peppers + onions + mushrooms = loaded pizza rolls
pizza rolls – sausage + veggies = vegetarian pizza rolls
The Spice Girls may have formed 20 years ago, not to make you feel old, but today I’m talking about spices. I got some spice mixes from Healthy Solutions to try and I loved them. You can love them too by entering my giveaway below! I tried the Encrusted Haddock and the Ultimate Burger. Both were so good.
I tried the Encrusted Haddock mix too. I used this on a tilapia filet I had and it was wonderful.
I put the fish in a little packet with a little panko and Mr. J grilled it on a his/hers night.
The Encrusted Haddock mix had some garlic and onion flavors with a sweet touch. I served it over a couscous, tomato, and chopped arugula with a touch of mustard.
For the Ultimate Burger I mixed some into my chicken burger and into Mr. J’s beef burger. It absolutely amped up an everyday burger into something really special.
I loved the onion, garlic, and pepper flavors. Every burger needs a kicker to come alive. Grill it up and you won’t want your ground meat to be naked again.
Now, enter to win your choice of 3 mixes shipped right to you! Enter before Wednesday!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Full 3 Bite Rule Disclosure: Healthy Solutions Spice Blends were completely complimentary but my thoughts, opinions, and words are entirely my own.
I was inspired to try my hand at polenta. It seemed like a good way to make a his (beef)/hers (fish) for dinner some night…also without needing the oven. Polenta cooks so quickly that it can really be a pantry shelf staple that becomes an afterthought.
1 cup polenta
1 cup water
1 cup milk
salt & pepper
1 cup grated white cheddar
5 large shrimp
2 tbs butter.
1-2 cups arugula
1 cup red wine
Over a low boil, reduce the red wine by half…about 10 minutes.
In a large pot, bring the water and milk to a boil. Add in the polenta and whisk to combine. Then cover and cook over medium for about 15 minutes.
Peal and devein the shrimp.
In a flat skillet, cover the bottom of the pan with olive oil and melt 1 tbs of butter.
Add the other 1 tbs butter to the reduced wine.
Pan fry the shrimp, arugula, and tomatoes for about 3-5 minutes.
Check on the polenta. If it is too dry, add more milk or water and stir in the cheese.
Spoon the polenta into a bowl and top with the shrimp, then with the wine.