Sunday, October 21, 2012

Favorite Fall Recipes

I love salad. I eat one just about every day. Andy and I actually even have a song we made up about salad (don't tell him I told you that). It may sound a little weird, but salads are such a tasty way to get in your fresh veggies. That being said, this is one of my all time favorite salads, and it's perfect for Fall. It's great as a side, or you can add chicken and make it a meal. Andy (who is definitely not as fond of salads as I am) really enjoyed this too. We had it for dinner this past week (twice) with sweet potato biscuits. I may have had it for lunch one day too...Told you I love salad.

Orchard Harvest Salad 

(makes 5 dinner-sized salads, or about 8-10 sides)

1(5.5 oz) bag of salad
1/2 cup dried cranberries
4oz blue cheese crumbles
red onion, thinly sliced  (to taste)
2 Gala or Fuji apples, chopped in bite sized pieces
1/2 c pecan halves, toasted
Chicken (optional)

Toss all ingredients together in a bowl. Drizzle with dressing.

*I usually just throw these together in individual serving sizes. So if you like more of one ingredient and less of another, you can adjust it to suit your taste. It's also really yummy to candy the pecans with some cinnamon, brown sugar, and cayenne. I've done it both ways.

Apple Cider Vinaigrette 

(original recipe-minus my adjustments-found here)

1/4 c cider vinegar
1/4 c apple juice
3 Tbsp brown sugar
1/2 Tbsp black pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 Tbsp salt
1 c cannola oil

Combine all ingredients in a jar. Shake vigorously until well combined. Serve or refrigerate until needed. Should keep for at least 1 week. (I never have any left after that).

*I know this may seem like a lot of pepper, but it's the perfect blend of spice with the cinnamon and the sweetness of the juice and tang of the vinegar. Yum!

Sweet potato Biscuits 

(recipe found here)

2 c all-purpose flour
1Tbsp baking powder
1Tbsp granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 c whole milk (I use buttermilk)
1 c baked, mashed sweet potato (about 1 med potato)
1 stick butter, frozen
Additional milk for brushing tops of biscuits

Preheat oven to 400. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl and set aside. In another bowl, mash together the sweet potato and buttermilk as evenly as possible. Grate frozen butter and toss with dry ingredients. Add sweet potato mixture to dry ingredients and mix together until forming a sticky dough (I put some flour on my hands and just mix it with my fingers).

At this point, you can follow the original recipe and roll out the dough and then cut out the biscuits with a biscuit cutter. I, however, am usually too impatient for biscuits to mess with all that. I flour my hands again and just tear off pieces of the dough and lightly form them into round biscuits, then pat them to slightly flatten them. They're not quite as pretty, but they taste just as good.

Place biscuits on a parchment lined baking sheet. Brush tops of biscuits with buttermilk (or cream). Bake for 12 to 15 mins.

*These are amazing served warm with some cinnamon honey butter. I usually don't have the patience or foresight to actually bake my potato, so I just cook mine in the microwave for 5-8 mins, until soft. I'm all about saving some time on weeknights!

Happy Fall! Go enjoy some tasty food and beautiful weather!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Hello 21st century!

Well, it's finally happened. I have joined the world of smart phones. And I have to say, the iPhone has not disappointed. If you have any suggestions of your favorite apps, let me know. So far my favorites are Insragram and the Publix app (by the way, Publix does NOT sponsor my posts =). You can make your grocery list, adding things on sale from the weekly add. Then you can add reminders for coupons. When you set the location of the store you go to, it automatically sorts your list by what isle the items are located on. When you get to the store, they have free wi-fi so you don't have to use your data. And its really easy to check off items when you get them (you can do the same things on a Kindle Fire if you don't have a smart phone).
Love. It.

In other news, today is this guy's 2nd birthday. I can hardly remember him ever being this small. Happy birthday crazy dog!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

BBQ Chicken Pizza

My friend, Melissa, has been telling me to try Publix's ready made pizza dough for a while, and I finally tried it out last week. It was Buy 1 Get 1 Free, so that gave me a good excuse. It was really good, so easy, and you couldn't beat the price ($1.30).

We love BBQ Chicken Pizza, so I thought we'd try making our own. Warning: this is definitely not our healthiest dinner, but it sure was yummy! We paired it with some salad so we could feel a little bit better about it =).

BBQ Chicken Pizza

Pizza Crust
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked & shredded
2 roma tomatoes, thinly sliced
4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/4 cup red onion slices (or more if you really like onions)
2 cups mozzarella cheese, grated
Romano cheese (or parmesan if you prefer), grated
BBQ sauce
BBQ seasoning

Spread out pizza dough on a rectangular baking sheet with a rimmed edge. I used a roller to smooth mine out to the desired shape/thickness. My crust was fairly thin, so if you want it thicker, use a smaller pan.

Stir 1/4 cup BBQ sauce in with shredded chicken. Spread BBQ sauce onto pizza crust for desired amount of sauce (I didn't really measure mine, but I probably used a little less than 1/2 cup; next time I would add a little bit more).

Layer chicken, tomatoes, bacon, red onion, and mozzarella cheese as desired. Sprinkle BBQ seasoning on top. Top with Romano or parmesan cheese until it looks good and cheesy. I used about 1/4 cup Romano.

Bake about 25 mins, or until cheese is bubbly and edges begin to brown. With about 10 mins left on bake time, remove pizza from oven, brush pizza crust with olive oil or butter and sprinkle with sea salt. Return pizza to oven and finish baking. Slice and enjoy!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Nora's 4th Birthday

As promised, here are some pictures of Nora's 4th birthday party. Melissa did a great job with the decorating, cake, food, and games. I am amazed at all she does with 3 young kiddos. Love you, sis!

Nora requested a Minnie Mouse Bow-tique birthday party (I had no idea what that was before this weekend). Apparently, in the show, Minnie has a shop where you can buy bows with buttons, so that's exactly what they did (plus a lot of other fun games). Melissa and Mom had sown cute bows for the girls and bow ties for the boys.

She also got a new bike which she rode for hours even though it rained almost the whole weekend (she just went round and round in circles in the carport =)

Can't believe these sweet kids are getting so big! Happy birthday, Nora!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Happy October!

Happy October! Yay for the month of Fall colors, changing leaves, cooler weather, yummy Fall foods and rounding the corner to the holidays.

We had a great weekend visiting family and celebrating Nora's 4th birthday. I'm going to post on that in a few days once I have time to go through all the (hundreds of!) pictures.

With it being the 1st of October, I was in the mood to make something "Fall-ish" for dinner tonight. My friend, Lynne, made this dish for us a few weeks ago, and it was amazing! It's a perfect blend of Fall flavors with sweet potatoes, apples, cranberries, and cinnamon. She was kind enough to send me the recipe, and I think we'll be having this a lot in the coming months.

Cranberry, Apple, and Sweet Potato Packet

(original recipe found here)

4 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch slices
2 Granny Smith (or Golden Delicious) apples, peeled, core, and sliced
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 Tbsp butter
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 450. Place potatoes, apples, and cranberries in the middle of a sheet of aluminum foil. Sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon. Place thin slices of butter on top*.

Gather foil up around mixture and fold edges together to form a packet. Allow for some room at the top so air can circulate. Place on cookie sheet or pan. Bake for 25-30 mins until potatoes are soft.

*I didn't melt the butter before as the recipe says. I figured it would save me a step to just let it melt in the oven.

**I cut my potatoes too big so it took them a lot longer to cook. They need to be cut pretty thin so that the apples don't get mushy. I also halved the recipe, so the amounts in my pics are smaller.

You really have to try this one. It's really easy, and there's no dish to wash afterwards!