Beef….

Is what I did for Thanksgiving!  This year it was just the hubby and I for dinner.  Our niece has a big family Thanksgiving meal at her house on the Saturday after Turkey Day so I knew we would be having turkey.  It gave me a chance to change things up a bit.

t-day-menu

Between my work schedule and the husbands travel schedule, I haven’t been spending as much time in the kitchen as I like.  I find it very therapeutic, so I took the opportunity to spend the entire day in the kitchen on Thanksgiving.   We started with bacon and homemade buttermilk waffles.

Because honestly, a day that starts with bacon is ALWAYS a good day in my book!  For lunch, I made a pot of pasta fagioli soup and paired it with a good old grilled ham and cheese sandwich.

soup-and-sammie

Late afternoon, I put out a plate of cheese and crostini, I found a really awesomely sharp cheddar and a creamy brie.  It was a perfect little bit to get us through the second football game of the day.

Finally, it was time for dinner.  Our first course was homemade pumpkin ravioli.  I made the filling in the morning and just before dinner, I made the dough.  I picked up a ravioli maker from Williams Sonoma and it made my life so much easier.  That and the pasta rolling attachment for my kitchen aid meant I went from a ball of dough to actual ravioli in under twenty minutes!

I made a very simple cream sauce, butter, cream and Parmesan cheese for the ravioli, they were amazing.  I can’t wait to make them again!

For dinner, we grilled beef tenderloin steaks and asparagus, and I made twice baked potatoes. I even made homemade bread using my sour dough starter, I am telling you, I was in the kitchen ALL DAY LONG, and I loved it!

It is always good to end the day on a sweet note, neither the hubby or I are big fans of pie, so I made a caramel apple cheesecake instead.  It was AWESOME!

 

It was a very relaxing, enjoyable day, which I think we both needed and for which I was truly grateful.

Sour Dough Starter

Isn’t just for making sour dough bread!  I have been trying to find new and different ways to use my sour dough starter.   I feed the darn thing each week, but I only use it a few times of year when I make bread.  I decided this fall, that was going to change.

banana-bread

We had some banana’s that were getting a bit too ripe so I googled to find a recipe that used sour dough starter to make banana bread.  I found a recipe on this site, Cultures for Health.  It was really simple, I had all of the ingredients on hand, so I threw caution to the wind and tried it.

The bread rose higher than any other sweet bread I had ever made, it wasn’t overly sweet, and the hubby and I really enjoyed it.  I did add a handful of chopped walnuts to the bread before baking, because  we love banana nut  bread.   The recipe is definitely a keeper and it used up some of my sour dough starter, DOUBLE WIN!

 

Speaking of bacon

Bacon…..lovely, lovely bacon.  It makes waking up on a Sunday morning something to savor.

breakfast

I woke up starving and I needed to eat right away.  I put the bread in the toaster, started the bacon, and last, but not least, cracked two eggs into a skillet.   Once the bread was toasted, I slathered it with a generous amount of butter.  Within minutes I had a hot, tasty breakfast on the table.  The best part, I had the entire day off so I was able to enjoy not one, but two cups of tea, while sitting outside eating my breakfast.  It was an awesome way to end the long work week.  I know technically Sunday is the start of the week, but for me, Sundays are end of the week.  A day meant for relaxing, catching up on chores at home and savoring a really good meal.  Happy Sunday!

Last days of summer

I am doing my best to savor the last few days of summer.  To that end, I have been hitting up the farmers market almost daily for produce.

tomato-sandwich

There is nothing better, in this world, than a tomato sandwich made with fresh, vine ripened tomatoes.  All you need is some good bread, lightly toasted, with a smear of mayo and a bit of salt and pepper.   Best summer lunch…..EVER!

peppers

I also grabbed some peppers.  I diced them, tossed them with some onions, olive oil, salt and pepper and roasted them on the grill alongside a package of brats.

brats

Summer dinners are so easy and quick, plus if you have a grill, you can cook the entire meal outside and not heat up the kitchen. The sun is setting earlier and earlier each night, which doesn’t thrill me, summer is coming to a close, but I intend to enjoy every last second!

Zucchini Bread

You know you are a sucker when the little girls next door come over to tell you that they signed you up to make dessert for them.  Heck, I was even given instructions as to what I was making and how much…..yup, SUCKER, right across the fore head, in big red letters.

Anyway,what they wanted to zucchini bread, two loaves, for church on Sunday.  I had zucchini from the garden on the counter, but I knew I would have to make the bread on Saturday morning, before I left for work.

Thankfully, I was able to make the bread and leave it cooling on the counter.  I texted their Mom to let them know it was ready and they could pick it up anytime. Then I went upstairs to get ready and I headed out to the Jersey Shore for our annual Alumni Happy Hour down the shore.

zucchini bread

It wasn’t until the next afternoon that I saw the girls and they told me the bread was a big hit.  To thank me, and ensure a never ending supply of zucchini bread, they brought me over a HUGE zucchini from their Dad’s garden.  Hopefully he knows that they gave it to me….!

 

Sourdough Biscuits

I love using my sour dough starter for bread, pancakes, pizza dough…you name it!  This is the first time I have used it to make biscuits and let me tell you what….I enjoyed them just as much as the buttermilk ones I make.  They were delicious.  The best news, you use unfeed starter for these babies, so you can make them anytime, you don’t have to feed the starter, then wait eight hours for it to reach it’s optimal state of readiness.

It was a simple recipe, the starter, flour, some salt, a little water…easy peasy.  You are supposed to cut them out with a biscuit cutter, but I just rolled the dough out into a circle and cut them into wedges.

biscuit

I served them warm from the oven, slathered with salted butter and home made strawberry jam…YUM!

Zucchini Bread

I had so much zucchini from the garden last year that I ended up shredding a ton and freezing it.   This past school year has just been so insanely crazy, that I haven’t gotten around to using the frozen zucchini like I thought I would.  In an effort to clear out the freezer before the summer garden season gets under way, I pulled out a bag and made a batch of zucchini bread.

zucchini bread

I used my Mom’s recipe, which is hands down my favorite.  It is the favorite of the girls who live next door as well.  I gave them one of the loaves to take home, the other one they devoured at my house.  I only had one slice left of our loaf!  That is totally fine with me, I am trying to stay away from sugar, so I saved the last piece for the hubby to have with his morning coffee.  I only have a few more bags of zucchini to get through and the freezer will be all cleaned out and ready for this year’s crop!