Cheddar Zucchini Bread

Cheddar Zucchini BreadWell, I’ve definitely spent the past few weeks struggling through a blogging slump. There has been recipe failure (some things are just not meant to go together), photography challenges (bad lighting), technical difficulties (accidental deletions), and general loss of appetite (I’m so SICK of pumpkin). Plus, I’m still too cold. So over the weekend I was determined to overcome.

And I think this recipe might have done it! It’s easy to make. It’s cheesy and savory and kind of biscuity-tasting. And, most importantly, it uses up some of the remaining summer squash in our freezer.  Yes!

This recipe originally appeared in the Joy of Cooking, which, I have to admit, is a cookbook I probably don’t use frequently enough. I think it might be because I’m SO grossed out by the tongue recipes. But that’s a story for some other time…
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Amish Corn Pudding

Amish Corn PuddingUPDATE: winter sucks. The cold is back full force and there’s no relief in sight. So obviously, I’m not leaving the house if I don’t have to. And here’s where that whole bees/chickens/garden/freezer thing comes in handy. If you dig around long enough, you’ll probably be able to come up with something fabulous to make for dinner. And if you’re anything like me, doing so will make you feel like a genius-kitchen-superhero.

So yesterday, after spending the day shivering (despite being wrapped up in a blanket), I was craving comfort food big time, but was not looking forward to warming up the car. And then I found sweet corn in the freezer. [click to continue…]

Quick and Easy Fried Rice

Quick and Easy Fried Rice Well, once again I’m feeling like complaining about the weather. Wind chills yesterday, well…. Let’s just not talk about it. It will just make us feel colder. One thing is true without question though: today I’m not leaving the house unless I have to. And I didn’t yesterday either! Of course, choosing to stay home for a day (OK two days) really places some limits on your dinner menus.

Luckily, I knew this was coming, and have some key ingredients on hand for a few of our favorite dishes. Dishes like fried rice! Ahhh fried rice: fast, easy, cheap, and delicious. It’s the perfect thing to throw together when you have a house full of hungry young adults. Actually, it’s pretty great no matter who’s home for diner. It works well as a side dish for practically anything. It’s great as a main dish topped with tofu, or tempura veggies, or spicy orange beef. And, just like pizza, it’s an awesome next-day breakfast. Serious! [click to continue…]

Adorable Rosette Cookies

Adorable Rosette CookiesAnyone else feeling a little busy and overwhelmed yet? No? Me neither! The shopping is finished. The gifts are wrapped. The baking is done. The house is spotless. HAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHA…. Well, I needed a good laugh.

But seriously, if you really are feeling stressed out today, take a few minutes to think it through. How much of what you are killing yourself to accomplish today is actually necessary? What would you rather be doing? Instead of washing the exterior of all the windows, cleaning under the refrigerator, or dusting your houseplants, maybe you should do something fun. Like maybe make a homemade piñata, or decorate some pinecones with sequins and glitter, or fry some rosette cookies!

Rosette cookies are one of those things that always bring back great memories for me. My mom made them every year and I loved to help. They are simple to make, but definitely time-consuming. On the up side, it is time that can definitely be well spent chatting it up in the kitchen with the people you love. Bonus: it makes a huge mess, which in turn makes any other unfinished housework a laughably low priority. You’re welcome! [click to continue…]

Rosemary Butter Cookies

Rosemary Butter CookiesIf I ever meet a genie and I get three wishes, I know exactly what I’m going to ask for. I mean, obviously wishes 1 and 2 will be for health and wealth, right? Because everyone wants both of those things, and all of the time. But for my third wish, I’m totally going to ask for the ability to hibernate. Yeah, I’m serious. Think about how awesome that would be! When the harvest comes, eat as much as you can, as fast as you can. Then sleep through all the cold, crappy weather. Then wake up to find yourself slim and rested and warm. WHY can’t I have this?

So just in case I do end up being able to hibernate for the rest of this winter, I’ve decided to go ahead and eat Christmas cookies again this year. Because you never know. Also, cookies are delicious. So if you too have decided to go forward with cookie-eating this year, this recipe from Martha Stewart is one of the good ones. These cookies are flavorful, pretty, and just unusual enough that (probably) no one else will be bringing them to your family get-together. [click to continue…]

Cinnamon Blackberry French Toast Casserole

Cinnamon Blackberry French Toast Casserole I probably don’t even have to tell you my latest news. One look at this picture, and you already know: I have FOUND this year’s Christmas Morning Breakfast dish. And THIS IS IT. Yeah, I know. I’m just a little bit excited. But do you have any idea how awesome this dish is? How easy it is to throw together? How amazing it smells while cooking? How yummy it tastes? You should make it and find out!!

OK I’ll stop. I know I’m out of control. I just really appreciate success in the kitchen. This happens to you when you have a family. Am I right? When you have to feed a spouse and children, it seems like every night is another gamble. Will it turn out to be too spicy for the kids? Too blah for the spouse? Will it be just too strange and different for anyone to enjoy? So yeah, I’m enthusiastic about this recipe. It rocks. Everyone will like it. Christmas is saved! [click to continue…]

Easy Cinnamon Bread with Homemade Cinnamon “Chips”

Cinnamon Bread OK I know I said that I wouldn’t have anything on the blog this week except salads. But… Well, I just wasn’t in the mood. I mean have you been outside of your house lately? Apparently, it’s almost Christmas! Carols are playing. Lights are twinkling. Decorations are EVERYWHERE. Obviously, I don’t have time to stop and think about something crazy like salads right now.

So I’ve been thinking about the holidays: about feeding the kids while they’re home, and also about what we should eat on Christmas morning. So far this delicious cinnamon bread is a pretty serious contender. The original recipe is from King Arthur Flour, and it’s really easy and pretty much foolproof. Unfortunately, it calls for cinnamon chips. Since it’s the most wonderful time of the year, cinnamon chips are actually relatively easy to find in the grocery store right now. But the problem I have is that I just kind of don’t like them. Well, the ones you have to order online from King Arthur Flour are probably good. Other brands I’ve tried, not so much. [click to continue…]

Pumpkin Pie (Totally from Scratch)

Pumpkin Pie (from scratch)OK, so there you are: you’ve made and frozen pumpkin purée, you’ve collected eggs from your own chickens, and you’ve learned to make sweetened condensed milk using your own honey. You’ve also learned to make a super flaky piecrust, like when you made rhubarb pie, apple pie, and tomato pie. You even know how to make real whipped cream now, because you used it when you made that fourth of July trifle earlier this year! Hmmm… what to do with all those skills….

Just kidding! You should make this crazy delicious, totally from scratch, no cans involved, pumpkin pie! Trust me, if you decide to make a pie using canned pumpkin, canned sweetened condensed milk, a pre-made rolled up pie crust, and “whipped topping” it just isn’t going to be the same. Instead, it will be full of preservatives and artificial flavors and a bunch of other processed chemical stuff you don’t want. [click to continue…]

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins Well, last night was Beggar’s Night here in our town, and naturally we totally blew it. Seriously, it’s amazing how out of touch you can become when your kids are no longer around to keep your schedule straight. Not only did I completely forget to buy any candy, we weren’t even home. That completely dark house seemingly occupied only by huge snarling dogs that all trick-or-treater’s see in their nightmares? Yeah, that’s us. Nice.

Anyway, to celebrate the day when pumpkins practically appear to come to life, I decided to make something from one of the last fresh pumpkins in our pantry. If you need instructions on how to turn fresh pumpkin into pumpkin purée, check out my post from a couple of weeks ago. If you don’t have fresh pumpkins just lying around, no problem, you can use canned. In fact, the recipe I used is adapted from one by the Libby’s canned pumpkin people. [click to continue…]

The Great Apple Pie Experiment

Apple PieLast weekend we were finally able to make time to head up to Deal’s Orchard in Jefferson, and it turned out to be absolutely perfect in every way! The weather was gorgeous, our schedule was clear, and we had plenty of time to wander around and check everything out. Also, you get a free apple. And Golden Delicious apples are in season. So like I said: perfect.

Naturally, everyone I know started coming up with suggestions for apple-based dished for me to blog about. Apple crisp, apple muffins, apple salad… In the end, I decided on good old apple pie. Of course, I couldn’t just let it be easy. I mean, if you’re going to blog about it, it really ought to be The Best Pie Ever, right? [click to continue…]

Baked Custard

Baked CustardToday, another chapter from my book, What Am I Supposed To Do With All These Eggs? Just kidding, I’m not really writing a book like that. Maybe I should though…. Anyway, last night while I was trying to figure out what to make today, I started remembering something I had eaten when I was a kid.

So I say to Curt, “hey, have you ever had this stuff that’s like warm and kind of tastes like eggnog and has like a custardy texture to it?” At which point Curt very patiently explained to me that something like that does in fact exist, and that most people simply refer to it as custard. [click to continue…]

Hash Brown Quiche

Hash Brown QuicheWell, it’s been several weeks now, and our Little Red Hens haven’t slowed down for even one day. So now we have EGGS! EGGS! EGGS!! Yes, we were warned. Everyone said, “what will you do with four eggs a day?” And even though I knew we’d have to be using eggs a lot, I have still allowed three dozen eggs to accumulate in the refrigerator. So, everyone can go ahead and say it: you told us so. [click to continue…]

Lynn’s Zucchini Orange Bread

Lynn’s Zucchini Orange BreadThis is a recipe that my mother-in-law gave me about 19 years ago. In fact, she wasn’t even my mother-in-law yet! I remember thinking at the time, “oh! She likes me!” because actually writing out a recipe for someone else is such a thoughtful and generous thing to do. It’s something you don’t do for just anyone, but you definitely do it for a friend, or a daughter.

Lynn passed away coming up on ten years ago now. This was one of Lynn’s favorite recipes, and we talked about it many times. It has always made me think of her. [click to continue…]

Fourth of July Berry Trifle

Fourth of July Berry TrifleA few days ago, my father dropped off a big bunch of wild black raspberries that he picked out on his property. As you would expect, my first response was a resounding Woohoo! Naturally, that was immediately followed by a panicked frenzy involving Google, a teetering pile of recipe books, and a flurry of texts to my sister, all to try and come up with something exceptionally super-duper awesome to make with the raspberry windfall. [click to continue…]

Homemade Vanilla Pudding

Homemade Vanilla PuddingUp until a few days ago, I had no idea how easy it is to make pudding from scratch.  I mean, I’ve actually purchased pudding cups at the grocery store, OK?  And WOW, why did I do that?  It doesn’t even compare to what you can make yourself, trust me.

Originally, I was going to write a post about homemade pudding as part of another dessert.  That dessert is now going to be the subject of a second post later this week (so stay tuned), but I decided that the cool, creamy goodness of this simple pudding more than merits its very own post. [click to continue…]

Spring Vegetable and Sausage Strata

Spring Vegetable and Sausage StrataIt’s ASPARAGUS TIME!!  OK, when I say it like that it seems like we must have a ton of it, right?  Well, we don’t.   We have about eight spears total so far.  Our bed has only been going a few years, so we still don’t expect much production from it. [click to continue…]