doughnuts ala swedish chef

fried dough

god-bless the person who thought to put dough into a deep fryer.  think of all the wonderful things we get from that simple decision.  i made up some cinnamon-sugar doughnuts to bring with me on thanksgiving.  we would need substance as we cooked away!  has i made my doughnuts and doughnut holes i couldn’t help but think of the swedish chef………..

meatless monday — black and bleu baked potato

now that’s some hearty eating

yep the baked potato has fully won me over.  for meatless monday i got a tad creative with my toppings.  my plan was to create a black and bleu potato.  now traditionally black and bleu means beef with bleu cheese but come on folks this is MEATLESS MONDAY, no beef for me.  looking for the best black substitute i could find i stumbled across a homemade black bean burger patty in the freezer…..perfect.  the potato was topped with the smashed up black bean patty, bleu cheese and on the side was a spinach salad topped with bleu cheese and poppy-seed dressing. for an on the fly creation this one was pretty damn good.

meatless monday — “lets do dinner!!!” vi

pumpkin gnocchi

for this dinner party get together i was half worried i had gotten over ambitious.  the menu included homemade pumpkin gnocchi, a fall spinach salad, and for dessert a pear-apple tart.  gnocchi is one of those wonderful things potato dumpling pasta, yes, yes and more please. and i soon discovered actually very easy to make.

the guest list included the hargiss siblings, cythnia, ashley, cassie and adam.  topics of conversation included, tales of our childhood pets, how parental units can seem just crazy, various art topics, and expectations of ghost tours.

the crowd gathers

i was suffering from a cold so i could basically taste nothing of the gnocchi.  so sad indeed.  but eating it as leftovers a few days later i realized it was a warm yummy fall dish.  though it could have used a bit more curry and nutmeg for my taste and the best part of it was the cranberries, but when are cranberries not the best part.  overall though i felt and i think most the guests would agree, the salad was freaking amazing.  last minute, thrown together spinach and pear salad that i’m know crowning as the “fall spinach salad,” the secret ingredient, roasted pumpkin seeds!

a plate of fall yum

dessert of an apple-pear tart was also accompanied with me busting out my abundance of leftover infused whiskies to sample.  tea cups were passed around and the smelling, sifting, and sipping began. ( the tart was also very yummy and bad for an excellent breakfast tart the rest of the week.)

brown sugar and butter you just can’t go wrong

this meatless monday was an excellent end of the year bash for the monday dinner parties.  i won’t be starting them back up till after the new year.  although i am secretly counting down the days till i get a christmas tree, make wassel, and a whole lot of christmas cookies to share around the fire!

RECIPE:  FALL SPINACH SALAD

serves 4-6

1 bag fresh spinach leaves (washed)

1/2 cup roasted pumpkin seeds

1/2 cup pear slices (sliced 1/8 inch thick)

1/3 cup red onion slices

juice from 1/2 lemon

1 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp black pepper

1 1/2 TBSP olive oil

* whisk together lemon juice, garlic powder, black pepper, and olive oil in a small bowl.  set aside.

* in a large bowl toss together spinach leaves, pumpkin seeds and red onion.  right before serving toss salad with dressing (dressing may need a quick re-whisking)

“c’est vendredi, le gin dans le frigo” (aka national french week)

after about  8 years worth of french classes from high school through college, that is the one phrase still embedded into my head.   in college my professor on fridays would come in asking the question “quel jour sommes nous?”  (what day is it?)  we had all been instructed to reply “c’est vendredi, le gin dans le frigo!”  (it’s friday, the gin is in the fridge)  oh how many times i feel like saying that when i see our french teacher wandering the hallways, never more so than last week, when he had the entire building celebrating “national french week.”

bleu, blanche, rouge

the cafeteria of course did our part for french week. the entire cafe was decked out with french and canadian flags and for each day we had signs that translated the menu.

got some french pride?

en francise, si-vous plait

the building was outfitted with signs and information all about french culture and naming the parts of the building.  and we could see the classes playing petanque, aka bocce, or lawn bowling.  i love petanque. have my own set in fact, really kind of want to join petanque club.  the kids also had these passports that they were supposed to get signed after having a conversation in french with someone.  once they figured out i could speak french my line for my register got a little longer.   national french week made me miss the days of french club with nutella and everyone counting down the chapters till you got to the food unit which meant cultural day aka french food and party, where sometimes i would bust out my accordion.  all i wanted to do all french week was show up in the french class and be like lets make crepes!!  maybe i need to join french club again.

meatless monday — loaded baked potato

baked potato yumminess

i never buy potatoes.  this statement always seems somewhat dumbfounding to my german-irish family.  “you don’t eat potatoes?!”  is the usually reply.  yes i eat them i just often don’t think about making them for myself.  yet of late i’ve had potatoes sitting around from various recipes i’ve crafted for dinner parties.  with meatless monday needing to be simple and easy i thought why not a baked potato!  (note….i actually had to call my mom and ask how to cook the baked potato.)

conclusion……oh my god why don’t i make baked potatoes more often?!?!  my potato was coated with olive oil and sea salt and pepper.  once out of the oven i topped it with goat cheese and roasted red peppers.  mmmmmmmm    and it never hurts to have a few vegetarian buffalo wings to go with it.  this weekend i even bought a bag of potatoes just to have around for instant yummy dinners.  here’s to the baked potato!!

a chilli of a halloween

that’s a fall meal

halloween is my favorite holiday.  i however am not a big fan of going out and doing things on halloween.  my favorite way to spend halloween is cooking up a yummy dinner, drinking a fall beer, and watching my most favorite halloween movie, “arsenic and old lace.”  this year i cooked up some turkey chilli to make frito pie, homemade cinnamon rolls and treated myself to a mother’s oktoberfest brew.  while i watched the movie i consumed my dessert an andy’s pumpkin pie concrete, honestly it’s there best specialty concrete they make.  it was a prefect halloween!

meatless monday — “let’s do dinner!!!” V

spicy-ness was on the menu for this meatless monday.  the theme of soups continued on for this last monday in october.  on the menu:   curry-noodle soup, goat cheese with roasted peppers and crackers and for dessert orange-olive oil cake.  guests included both the hargiss siblings  (in 2 shifts) ray and elise, as well as my friends jess and erin.

jess, ray and erin ready to slurp up some noodles

the curry-noodle soup was yummy with a sweet spice to it. base of coconut milk and curry paste was a great pairing with the rice noodles, although next time i think i’m adding in tons more veggies.  as we slurped up the noodles erin and i shared tales of being librarians together.

a big pot of curry-noodle soup

as elise showed up we were digging into the goat cheese with red peppers.  topics of discussion at that point were….. the latest happenings at phelps grove park and whether anyone has every done an anthropological study of the park.

can’t go wrong with goat cheese, red peppers and pumpkin seeds

for dessert i was very proud of my cake.  my cakes are usually a complete disaster and i absolutely hate making frosting.  but for this cake i ventured into the realm of bundt cakes, i even had to acquire a new baking dish for it.  since the cake wasn’t lopsided, and half of it didn’t stick to the pan and the glaze actually formed i used the cake as my center piece.  i think i’m converted over to bundt cakes.  the cake led us to our last topic of conversation that night, jess venturing into the world of wedding planning!

orange-olive oil cake….yum

RECIPE —- GOAT CHEESE WITH ROASTED RED PEPPERS AND PUMPKIN SEEDS

80z goat cheese — at room temperature

1 cup roasted red peppers

2 cloves garlic — pressed

1 TBSP — olive oil

1/2 cup pumpkin seeds

1 tsp cummin

1 tsp cilantro

* in a small skillet heat up oil, and garlic, add in pumpkin seeds and cummin.  cook pumpkin seeds until browned.

*lower heat add in roasted red peppers, heat peppers through, 2-3 minutes.

*top goat cheese with pepper and pumpkin seed mixture, sprinkle with cilantro, serve with bread or crackers.

Day of the Dead Lunch…

…and bike ride.

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We had the day off AND it happened to be The Day of the Dead, so we decided to do something I’ve wanted to do for about a year- ride bicycles to lunch (Mexican, of course).

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We rode to our other favorite Mexican restaurant, Mi Ranchito. It’s closer than Dos Reales, and we were turning into skeletons ourselves- the closer the better in that case!

In our Day of the Dead duds…

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I had huevos rancheros.

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And JY had his usual, cheese and enchiladas with no beans, rice only.

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We discovered the ride home is downhill, and trust me, that was a very good thing to discover!

Full Belly + Pedals = Nap.