Maddy’s antics never cease to amuse us (and, let’s be honest, sometimes drive us crazy); the image above is of one of her rubber squeaker toys which she’s dropped into the toilet all by herself – we fished it out and properly cleaned it off…but it did give us a good laugh! She’s got that “Border Collie stare” down pat and her curly tail is the cutest. We enjoyed a relaxing weekend at home with Maddy, lots of long walks in our neighborhood (the crisp, fall temps we had were much appreciated!), and we made this Blue Apron meal and used up about half of our garden basil to put together a quick pesto sauce for a pasta dinner Sunday evening.
Look at this photo above…beautiful fall leaves scattered on the ground and you can almost feel the crispness in the air, right? While it is officially fall, as of last Friday, September 22nd, it certainly doesn’t feel like it here in A2; the high reached 92 degrees here on September 22nd which matched the record high for this date set in 1895. While some of you may be happy to have summer all year long, I am really looking forward to the cold front headed our way for mid-late week this week. We received ingredients for this meal in a recent Blue Apron delivery and just couldn’t bring ourselves to make chili with this 90+ degree weather we’ve been having. Our weekend included watching Tech beat Houston on Saturday (making them now 3-0), a fun game night with friends, and some delicious Blue Apron meals (Fusilli Bucati Pasta with Summer Squash, Corn, & Tomatoes, Summer Vegetable Paella with Saffron, Spiced Freekeh & Chickpea Bowls with Glazed Carrots, and Katsu-Style Eggplant with Stir-Fried Green Beans & Sweet Peppers).
We decided to make Maddy some homemade dog treats, following this recipe, today and she seems to love them. It wasn’t difficult and went pretty quickly (the most difficult/time consuming step was getting the treats to come neatly out of the cookie cutters and onto the tray without breaking) and it’s good to know exactly what goes into them as we made them ourselves. We used various cookie cutter sizes and shapes and, pictured below, Maddy waited patiently at our feet while we put these together. I’m sure we’ll be making more and trying some different recipes out in the near future; here’s to happy, healthy pups!
It seems our garden is really set up to make sauces and hot sauce more than anything else. Rather than just using our serrano peppers for hot sauce again (which we still may do) we decided to mix them with our tomatoes for a nice salsa that can be quick canned for preserving in the fridge or freezer.
- 1/2 red onion (roasted on grill and diced)
- mix of roma and heirloom tomatoes, about 14 heirloom and 8 roma
- 2 tablespoons olive oil (+ some to coat the onions and tomatoes)
- 3 cloves of garlic pressed into a paste
- lots of serrano peppers minced (we lost count at 12, there may be more)
- cilantro to your taste (we used about a 1/2 cup loosely packed then finely chopped)
- 1 cup + 1 tbsp of distilled white vinegar
- salt and pepper to taste
On a grill roast the tomatoes and onions. Remove from grill and let cool. Small dice the onion. Core the tomatoes and put into a blender or food processor and puree (ours produced just over 4 cups of tomato sauce). Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat in a large pot. Add the garlic and peppers and sauté for a few minutes (3-4). Add the onions and continue to sauté for a couple more minutes (2-3). Add the tomato sauce and vinegar and bring to a boil. Once boiling reduce the heat to low and let simmer for about 10-15 minutes or until the sauce starts to thicken a bit. Add the cilantro and salt and pepper to your taste.
This recipe is not safe tested for real canning, we’re not certain about whether or not there is enough acid to keep it on a shelf for long term. That said, there should be enough vinegar for long term freezing and making it shelf stable in your fridge for a while.
Also pictured above, we pickled our garden jalapeños using this recipe.
We grew our own poblano chile peppers this summer; now that it’s getting to be late August and the weather will soon turn, we’re harvesting a lot of ripe peppers, tomatoes, etc. and figuring out what to do with all our garden goodies. With us both coming from Texas, we are fans of spicy food and Hatch chiles hold a special place in Ryan’s heart as it wasn’t too far from his hometown and an often used and enjoyed ingredient in home cooking. When he recently saw fresh Hatch chiles in our local grocery store, he was sure to pick up a bag and decided they would pair well with our homegrown poblano chiles for a nice, spicy sauce.
- 3 tomatillos
- 4 poblano chiles
- 6-8 Hatch green chiles
- 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
- 2 cloves garlic, minced to a paste or pressed in a garlic press
- 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
Roast tomatillos on the grill. Roast peppers on the grill, over medium heat, until skins are browned and start to come loose from peppers; remove from heat, place in container, and cover to steam. Once cooled, remove pepper tops, deseed, and remove skins leaving you with only the flesh of the peppers. Put all ingredients in a food processor and purée.
After putting this together and tasting it, Ryan called it the “best sauce ever”; it’s fresh, and spicy, and if you’re not afraid of some heat give it a try for yourself!
It’s peach season in Michigan and there is an abundant supply of juicy, ripe fruit available at our local farmer’s markets – or if you’re lucky enough to have a friend who has peach trees and is willing to share, from friends too! We were inspired by our friend Jennifer, who recently made and shared a beautiful peach crisp photo, and our friend Laura, who generously gave us a bag of peaches from her yard, to make our own peach crisp and it did not disappoint; we used this recipe as a guide (thank you, Jennifer!) and Ryan did a bit of tweaking using what we had available in our pantry (we added oats and cinnamon and left out the garam masala).
While we aren’t growing our own peaches, we are growing our own tomatoes, zucchini, strawberries, peppers, and herbs this summer and our tomato plants are producing some beautiful fruit; just look at this heaping bowl of tomato (there’s a zucchini hiding in there too) goodness! As our ripe tomato count is rising, we’re considering what do with them all…pasta sauce, salsa, etc. I couldn’t resist snapping a quick photo of them all piled up in this beautiful bowl by Abigail Murray Studio on top of this tea towel by MirDinara.
We also took some time this weekend to use the laser cutter at Maker Works to make a custom-etched dog tag for Maddy; what we ended up with was 100 times better than what we were able to get from the machine at the pet store too. DIY for the win!
We enjoyed a cool, rainy weekend here in A2; watched some movies, cooked this Blue Apron meal, and visited my 26th Michigan brewery when we stopped by Brewery Becker in Brighton – my personal favorites on tap were the West Coaster (west coast style IPA), Victoria (Victorian era export stout), and Hefeweizen (classic wheat beer of Bavaria). Looking forward to the Memorial Day weekend ahead!
We were a little late in eating our New Year’s Day black-eyed peas this year, but we remedied that for dinner last night; adding them to our soup made for a delicious and warming meal on a cold January night. Below are the ingredients and the recipe and you can watch us make it in this quick, time-lapse video here.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil (we used chipotle infused)
- 2-3 tablespoons smoked paprika
- 1 tablespoon thyme
- 1 red onion diced
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 carrot small diced
- 1 red bell pepper diced
- 1 green bell pepper diced
- 3 medium/smallish sweet potatoes large diced
- 4 oz (2/3 a 6 oz can) tomato paste
- 1/2 jar of red salsa
- 1 12 oz can of crushed fire roasted tomatoes
- 3-4 cups of veggie stock (depending on how much broth you like)
- 2 cans black-eyed peas (drained and rinsed)
- salt and pepper (to taste)
In a large pot heat up the oilve oil over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, and garlic; cook until onion is slightly transparent. Add the bell peppers. Once everything starts to sweat a bit (or the peppers have started to become tender) add the smoked paprika. Cook for about another minute or so. Add the sweet potatoes and salt and pepper to your taste. Cook for about 3-5 minutes. Add the tomato past salsa and fire roasted tomatoes and cook for another 3-5 minutes. Add the veggie stock, bring to boil. Once boiling reduce heat and simmer until the sweet potatoes are fork tender. Add the black eyed peas and cook for another 3-5 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.
Serve by itself or over some rice for a delicious, hearty meal.
What to do with all that leftover fresh cranberry sauce from Thanksgiving, you ask? Whip up some delicious pancakes (this is the preferred pancake mix at our house) and top them with your leftover cranberry sauce (here’s one recipe)! And serving them up with a fresh apple cider mimosa can’t hurt either. Thanksgiving leftovers just keep getting better…
With Thanksgiving just three days away, Ryan and I are getting ready for a quiet, cozy, Thanksgiving at home this year, and we are looking forward to cooking some delicious food together; I always enjoy all the yummy eats, followed by decorating our home for Christmas over Thanksgiving weekend! Below are some things that will be on our Thanksgiving table this year. What’s cooking in your home for the holiday?
Deviled Eggs with Bacon & Capers
Homemade Cranberry Sauce with Orange Liquor
Blackened Turkey Breast (prepared with a dry rub and grilled)
Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Roasted Root Vegetables with Fresh Herbs
Pumpkin Pie with Bourbon Whipped Cream
For some Turkey Day fun, you might enjoy taking a look at these:
- If you’re a fan of Stranger Things, you might enjoy this.
- Thanksgiving 2016: Top Netflix Titles to Watch
- Who doesn’t love a good parade?
- How To Make Ross’s Thanksgiving ‘Moist Maker’ Sandwich From Friends
- The perfect Thanksgiving music: 5 playlists to cook, eat and clean up by
- 11 Crazy-Easy Thanksgiving Cocktails
- Kristin Wiig’s SNL Thanksgiving Monologue
Now that the weather has turned here in Ann Arbor, and we had our first snowfall last weekend, it’s extra nice to curl up by our fireplace too. I wish you a warm Thanksgiving, full of love, friends and family, happy memories, and delicious treats!