Monday, September 30, 2013

Apple Crisp

Fall is upon on and my father's apple trees are dropping apples left and right. My weekend has been one filled with picking apples, falling out of apple trees, and multiple apple desserts. Somehow this "dessert" became our breakfast and oh what a yummy breakfast it was!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Chicken Mole Enchiladas

Have you ever ordered an enchilada at a Mexican restaurant and end up with a taco shell stuffed with dry, flavorless meat then topped with a ton of flavorless red sauce that turns the meal into a gooey, unappetizing mess? I have yet to find a Mexican restaurant that can make an enchilada that I will actually enjoy eating.

Now in my own kitchen, it's a different story. Enchiladas easily become one of my favorite Mexican dishes. They are so simple to prepare and delicious to eat.  Top with mole sauce instead of the traditional red sauce, these enchiladas are over-the-top delicious.

Mexican Mole Poblano Sauce

Most people have seen the jars of mole sauce in the Mexican section at your local grocery store. If you've ever tried it, you know that it is a delicious treat. But do you know what is actually in mole sauce? 

It is quite interesting and borders on the unappetizing when you start throwing everything together into the pot. Chocolate? Peanut butter? Peppers? Tomatoes? Together!?!? I often wonder who decided to throw all these things together to make a sauce, I mean how does one decide to combine all these unique ingredients together? It almost seems as if a child just started throwing their favorite foods together into a pot. 

Wikipedia says that the most common legend surrounding the creation of this sauce comes from nuns who were too poor to afford a proper meal for the archbishop, prayed and brought together the few ingredients that they did have to create this sauce. However it was developed, Mole Poblano Sauce is delicious. 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Perfect Creamy Hot Chocolate

After making marshmallows last week, I have been dying for an opportunity to make some hot chocolate. Tonight is one of those perfect evenings that just screams for a over sized blanket, the porch swing, a good book, and a steaming cup of hot chocolate. 

This is the perfect way to unwind after a crazy day at work. Some days I love my job as a preschool teacher. Other days, much like today, I come home wondering how did he manage to stick that there? 

Any great hot chocolate needs to start with a delicious chocolate syrup. I prefer to make my own. I made up a small batch, just enough for two cups of hot chocolate. It's simple and takes less than 5 minutes. There is no reason not to make your own. 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Pumpkin Spice Latte

I walked into work on September 4th and over half my coworkers were carrying around Starbucks coffee cups, sipping on a pumpkin spice latte. I, however, refuse to indulge in a "fall treat" when it is 79 degrees outside and not a single leaf has fallen from the trees. Maybe if I still lived in Ohio where it was in the 50's a few weeks ago I'd have indulged in this wonderful treat, I wouldn't. I am just not a fan of Starbucks. I have never acquired a taste for their coffee in general. Also, I am poor, I cannot afford $5 drinks. I am much happier making my own coffee drinks. Plus I know exactly what goes into it. 

Friday, September 20, 2013

Fluffy, Homemade Marshmallows

It's Friday night, I have no life so what's a girl to do except make some marshmallows? 

These little cloud-like pieces of heaven are a little tricky to make the first time because of one's desire to scrape the bowl thoroughly and to smooth out the top of the marshmallows once you pour them into the pan. If you can avoid these two very messy and futile impulses, marshmallows are really quite simple to make. 

They also roast up deliciously in my toaster oven to make yummy s'mores. 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Slow Cooker Italian Roast

Today has been a lazy Sunday. The weather can't make up it's mind yet rather it is still summer or if it is turning into fall. Yesterday was a gorgeous, fall-like day. Today it's summer. High temperatures and high humidity. A perfect day to be curled up on the couch with a book, inside my nice air conditioned living room.

My extreme laziness even extended into the kitchen where dinner was assembled and put into my slow cooker around noon and eaten at 6. There is nothing nicer to accompany a lazy Sunday than a good, old-fashioned Sunday Roast Beef dinner.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Sweet 'n' Sour Sauce

I have no pictures to include with this. None of them turned out well. It just looked like a reddish brown liquid in a pot. I promise it's a delicious sauce though. You need to make it. Enough said.

Sweet and Sour Sauce
Makes 2 cups

¾ cup sugar
1/3 cup white vinegar
2/3 cup water
¼ cup soy sauce
1 tbsp. ketchup
2 tbsp. cornstarch

Combine all ingredients in a medium sauce pan. Whisk together thoroughly. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, until thickened. 

Sweet 'n' Sour Smoked Sausage

It's been a long week. Remind me next time my phone rings on my day off that I should not answer it. It will only be bad news or somebody begging for a favor. Like being called into work on my day off. In return for working almost a full shift on my day off, I got to only work half a day. Leaving early on a Friday? Start my weekend early? Hell yeah!

The only thing that would have made today better would have been to avoid the four-year old class, who thought flushing random things was a good idea. But I didn't have to clean up the mess so I cannot complain too much. Except that my shoes got wet walking down the hallway. 

At least today ended early and I got to spend this beautiful day relaxing on my deck with a good book. My desire to relax and do nothing carried over into my dinner. 

This is a recipe that I saw in a Kroger advertisement a few months ago. I had put off trying it, not really sure why. It is nothing fancy but a perfect "I'm feeling lazy" dinner that still tastes amazing.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Sausage Gravy

Nothing goes better with some homemade biscuits than some good, old-fashioned sausage gravy. What makes this sausage gravy even better is that it also has bacon in it. Everybody knows that everything is better with bacon. 

Monday, September 9, 2013

7-Up Biscuits

Let me tell you a secret. It's about these amazingly easy biscuits. These are so easy,  I make them lots of mornings before I head out the door to work. It takes less than 10 minutes effort to get these into the oven.

Who would have thought that combining 4 ingredients could come up with these delicious biscuits. They are simpler to make than traditional biscuits because you are not putting any effort into cutting cold butter into flour. Just combine everything, stir, knead a few times and you are good to go! 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Peach Marmalade with Walnuts

Day 2 of peaches. That means more jam. Two weeks ago I stumbled across an old recipe of my grandmother's for peach marmalade. I have never had peach marmalade. By the time I'd come along, my grandmother no longer canned anything. She had settled into her 7 meal rotation. The only variation came on holidays or special occasions. Then she served the traditional dishes associated with that holiday.

My grandmother passed away when I was in high school. Since then I have spent hours exploring her old recipes, looking for little gems she'd tucked away, forgotten to time. Some are little clipping from magazines. Others are hand written on recipe cards. This was one of the hand written ones.

The problem with her handwritten recipes are that she included limited instructions and rarely wrote down how much the recipe should produce. Her recipes from the 1940's were often written to accommodate a family of 5. Her recipes from the 1970's and 1980's were meant to accommodate 4 families. She felt a need to not only supply herself and my grandfather, but also her children's families.

This must have been one of those later recipes. It started with 2 dozen peaches. I chopped up 6 heaping cups and stopped. I ended up with  almost 14 half-print jars of marmalade. I would still be in the kitchen had a followed the recipe exactly.

I must say that this is DELICIOUS and nothing like the traditional marmalade that is mass produced. I was lucky to stumble across this recipe and it is something that I will be making every year.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Spiced Peach Preserves

I'd like to introduce you to my new best friend.

I purchased it last fall on clearance. You can purchase your's at the Fresh Preserving Store. This little device is amazing if you detest standing around over a hot pot stirring for 30-45 minutes straight. 

It is peach season in my kitchen. So I'm a month behind the rest of the south but there is a logical explanation for that. My peaches came from my dad's peach trees in Ohio and I'm cheap. His peaches are free to me. Plus, homegrown just tastes better.

Today's creation is Spiced Peach Jam. Spiced just enough to add to the ripe, juicy flavor of the tree ripened peaches.

I used my wonderful jam maker. However I have included directions for the old-fashioned method for those are not opposed to the hand stirring.