Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween everyone!  I hope you all have a safe and wonderful time tonight!!

autumn, decoration, fall

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Herb Garden

Basil in the cup

Of all the things to grow, herbs seem to be the easiest.  When I first started my own garden, I had a few issues.  Throughout my childhood, we always had a garden that I would help with.  So naturally I thought this would be easy!  Well,  I soon discovered that I was a tad off in my estimation of difficulty.  My first garden was full of a variety of fruits and vegetables, which was my mistake.  I soon learned (after 75% of my crops died)  that slow and simple was the way to go!  So, if you are new to gardening, I believe an herb garden in the perfect start.  If you have purchased herbs from the grocery store, you have probably noticed how expensive they can be.  Not only is cost an issue, often you only need a small amount for a particular recipe, which leaves those pricey herbs to rot away in the bottom of the refrigerator.

A kitchen window is a great place to start a small herb garden.  If you don’t have a window in the kitchen, you can use another window or area near light.  Recently, I have discovered many artificial light herb gardens for sale.  These are cheap and the ratings appear good, but I prefer natural light.   Start your garden with an herb that you use frequently.  Parsley is usually a good choice, as it can be used in so many recipes!  You can use any small pot, jar, or a coffee mug.  Be creative and recycle any empty food jar or container.  Seeds can be purchased in the plant department at local home or grocery store.  It’s so easy and rewarding to eat the foods and herbs that you have grown yourself!

 

Potato Soup

I am loving this cool weather!  So naturally, I have to bring out all of my soup recipes and struggle to decide which one to make!  Potato soup is one of my favorites.  I have posted my recipe below.  Feel free to share any delicious soup recipes you may have or recommendations for my recipe!

White Round Ceramic Plate Near Brass Cookware

Potato Soup

 

  • 1 whole Yellow Onion (diced)
  • 3 whole Carrots, (cleaned & diced small)
  • 2-3stalks of Celery (diced)
  • 6 whole Potatoes (I prefer Russet, peeled & diced)
  • 8 cups Chicken Broth
  • 3 Tbsp. Flour (All-Purpose)
  • 1 cup Milk.
  • 3/4 Cup Heavy Cream
  • Diced Bacon for topping
  • Shredded Cheese for topping
  • Salt & Pepper

In a pan, fry bacon until crisp.  Remove bacon and drain excess grease.  Add onion, celery, and carrots to a stew pot with a small amount of bacon grease. Allow to cook approx. 10 minutes.  Add potatoes.  Add salt and pepper to taste and continue to cook for 10 minutes.  Slowly stir in chicken broth.  Bring to a boil and allow to boil for 5-7 minutes.  Mix flour and water together until smooth.  Pour into soup.  Allow to cook an additional 10 minutes.

Remove approx. 1/2 of the soup using a measuring cup.  Pour into blender and blend until smooth.  Pour blended soup back into the pot.  Add heavy cream.  Simmer 5-7 minutes.  When ready to serve, scoop into bowls and top with cheese and bacon!

 

Juicing your own apples

Red Yellow Apples on Wooden Basket

Hi all!

I received a comment from Lisa, who asked about juicing apples from home.  I love to experiment with my juicer, and apples are my favorite.  However, there are over 7500 varieties of apples, so it can be confusing to know which to pick!  I have enclosed a link discussing commonly found apples and their taste.  Pink Lady is one of my favorite apple varieties.  If you want your juice a little tart, then Granny Smith is the apple for you.  Mixing a Granny Smith with a sweeter apple is also delicious!  If you have any recipes for home juicing, let us know!

http://www.leaf.tv/articles/the-best-apples-for-fresh-juice/

 

Apple Pie

apples, diet, food

Fall would not be complete without a warm apple pie topped with a scoop of delicious vanilla bean ice cream!  I have tried so many apple pie recipes, but this one is by far my favorite.  The recipe is a little different, as you put the top crust on the pie and then pour in the filling.  This recipe also calls for Granny Smith apples.  You can swap out the apples, but I would recommend sticking with this variety!  Granny Smith apples are grown mostly in other countries, but they can be found in the northeast.  I am so lucky to have family in Washington!  Every year I ship wonderful pecans from our trees, and in return, they ship me beautiful apples from their trees!  I have made this with fresh apples and store bought, and both are amazingly delicious!  I hope you try it out and let me know if it is your new favorite apple pie recipe.

Apple Pie

1 – 9 inch pie crust (store bought or your own recipe

1/2 cup unsalted butter

1/2  cup brown sugar (packed)

1/2 cup white sugar

1/4 cup water

3 tablespoons of all purpose flour

8 Granny Smith apples (peeled, cored, and sliced)

Cinnamon

Nutmeg

Allspice

 

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Melt  1/2 cup of butter in a sauce pan.

Stir in 3 tablespoons of flour. Stir until a paste forms.

Add white and brown sugar.  Stir and add in 1/4 water.

Bring mixture to a boil.

Reduce temperature and simmer 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

Place the bottom crust in your  pie pan. Fill with the sliced apples, and form a slight mound.

Sprinkle apples with cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice.  You can eliminate any of these.  You can sprinkle as much as you like!

Cut the top crust into strips and form a lattice top over the mound of apples.

VERY carefully, pour the sugar mixture over the lattice work.  Pour slowly because you want all of the delicious mixture to seep into the pie. 

Bake 15 minutes at 425 degrees.

Reduce the temperature to 350 degrees F and continue to bake for an additional 35-45 minutes. 

Remove from oven, allow to cool slightly, top with ice cream, and enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Fall Has Finally Arrived!

Orange Pumpkin on Green Grass Field during Daytime

This is my favorite time of year! The leaves are beginning to turn and we there have been a few cool nights lately.  My husband and I took our one year old daughter to a local peanut festival last weekend.  We took her last year, but she was only a few months old so she didn’t understand or care what was going on!  There were several vendors with crafts and delicious food!  We stocked up on peanuts and picked out a few pumpkins to carve with our daughter.  I have grown my own pumpkins before, but this year I decided to just buy from local farmers.  We have three deliciously cute pumpkins lining our walkway and a lot of leftover seeds!  So many throw these away, but they are the best part!  Try this quick and easy recipe and let me know what you think!

You can make this recipe based on your spice preference.  I have made spicy roasted pumpkin seeds and sweet roasted pumpkin seeds.  Both are delicious, so try out a few different spices to see what you like!

 

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Clean your seeds.  It is okay to leave some strings attached.  And if you have more seeds than what this recipe calls for, just double the recipe.

1 1/2 cups of pumpkin seeds

2 teaspoons of melted butter, olive oil, or vegetable oil

Optional spices: salt, garlic salt, seasoning salt, cayenne pepper, cinnamon & sugar

Toss the pumpkin seeds in the oil or melted butter.  Add the spice of your choice.  You can add however much you like, but remember that salt goes a long way! My personal favorites are cayenne pepper if I am in a spicy mood and cinnamon and sugar for my sweet tooth!

Bake for 45 minutes or until the seeds turn a nice golden brown.  Toss the seeds a few times while baking.

Let me know what your favorite seasoning is and if you have any other ideas for leftover pumpkin seeds!