Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

Photo submitted by Maureen Johnson

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Rock Your Crockpot: A Family Favorite Pot Roast

When I move into crazy ass mode by mid week, or have lost my kitchen groove, and a family meal is still required this is when my slow cooker emerges from the depths of my cabinetry, and makes it way to my counter top.  A slow cooked meal can produce a weeknight/weekend wonder meal.  With two working parents and a teenager on the go, my slow-cooker has been a life saver.

Most of you have your own version of a slow-cooked pot roast  This is mine.  In my opinion, taking a few minutes to season and brown your meat, before placing it in the crockpot makes all the difference.

Layer your vegetables, add liquid (water, wine, etc.) and turn your crock pot to low, and walk away.

Rock Your Crockpot: Pot Roast
Serves 4-6

1 (3-4lb) boneless chuck roast
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
2 bay leaves
A sprig of rosemary
1/4 cup olive oil
3-4 beef bouillon cubes
3-4 large potatoes, cut into chunks
3-4 large carrots, cut into thick slices
1/2 cup white wine 

Combine the sea salt, ground black pepper, garlic powder and onion powder into a small bowl.  Rub roast on all sides with seasoning.  

Heat a Dutch oven other skillet over high heat with olive oil, and sear roast on all sides until brown.  Place roast in a slow cooker, and layer potatoes, carrots, bay leaves and crushed bouillon.  Add wine, and enough water to cover the ingredients.

Cook on low for 6-8 hours.


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

Photo submitted by Maureen Johnson

Friday, October 18, 2013

Baked Acorn Squash with Brown Sugar and Butter

Acorn squash is often harvested in late summer, stores easily for several months, and is often enjoyed during the fall and winter.  This winter squash is not as rich in beta carotene as some of its cousins but is high in fiber and potassium, and delivers a meal or side dish that is satisfying.

I have read that acorn squash is easy to grow and is planted after the last threat of frost.  Next season I am planning to try my hand growing winter squashes (acorn and butternut) along side my summer squashes (zucchini and yellow crooked neck).

This baked acorn squash proves that fresh and simply prepared equals delicious.

Baked Acorn Squash with Brown Sugar and Butter
Serves 2
Recipe from Food Network

1 acorn squash cut in half
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter, softened
2 tablespoons maple syrup
Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Scoop the seeds out of the cavities and discard.  In a small mixing bowl, combine the brown sugar, butter, syrup and salt and pepper, to taste.  Rub the squash cavities and cut sides of squash with butter mixture and place them on a baking sheet, cut side up.  Bake in the preheated oven for about 1-hour until the squash is tender when pierced with a fork.  Serve 1 half per person.


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

Photo submitted by Krista Bjorn

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Scenes From My Pantry: Pumpkin Pancakes

I can stare into my pantry in July with my shelves lined with "this and that," and look straight at the can of pumpkin and completely ignore it.  Looking through my pantry in October that same can of pumpkin will immediately capture my attention.  Grocery store shelves are lined with Libby's canned pumpkin all year.  So, why is it only enjoyed in the fall?

My new challenge has been how do I fuel my fifteen year old's body to support his passion for playing soccer.  He arrives home and manages to tear through cabinets for a quick carb fix, this may include an almost entire box of  Pop Tarts (I know bad mom).  I am always on the hunt for quick meals for him when his body is burning everything that it has coming through it-

I searched the pantry and came across the items needed to make a stack of homemade pumpkin pancakes.  This was a quick, more nutritious than a box of Pop Tarts way of giving my son the needed fuel on the soccer field.  Served with a tall glass of whole cold milk made for a decent balance for him.

The pancakes were really good.  A great light texture with a mild flavor of pumpkin laced with warm fall spices of cinnamon, allspice and ginger.  I even made an extra batch of pancakes and placed them in the freezer for later.

Proof that pancakes are not just for breakfast anymore.

Pumpkin Pancakes
Makes 12 pancakes
Recipe from

1-1/2 cups milk
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 egg
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons vinegar
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt

1.  In a bowl, mix together the milk, pumpkin, egg , oil and vinegar.  Combine the flour, brown sugar, baking soda, allspice, cinnamon, ginger, and salt in a separate bowl.  Stir into pumpkin mixture just enough to combine.

2.  Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium-high heat.  Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake.  Brown on both sides and serve hot.


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

Photo submitted by Leonardo Scarnici

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Life Simplified: Scrambled Eggs with Spinach and Parmesan

My life mantra is "Keep it simple".....I have repeated this so often to myself, and to others that I almost believe it is possible.  My daily life, I am my own worst enemy.  I always seem to have a "to do" list a mile long, and only feel productive if I am checking off my list, while adding to it.  

When I feed people, I have learned that simple is best. It is not about fancy food, complicated and expensive ingredients, and overtime in the kitchen-  it is about sitting down and sharing a meal with my family and friends.  I rarely complicate it, it is not my style.  Now, if I could feel that comfort level with my daily life, it would rock. Cooking in a simplistic way reminds me that it is possible to make it happen in daily living.  I realize it is probably one of the reasons why I enjoy cooking and feeding people so very much.

 Eggs should not be relegated to weekend cooking only. There are so many healthy and simple ways to  enjoy the "Incredible, edible egg"

Scrambled Eggs With Spinach and Parmesan
Serves 1
Recipe from Bon Appetit

Pull the eggs off the heat when they still look a little loose: carryover cooking will do the rest.

Whisk 2 large eggs in a small bowl; season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper and set aside.  Heat 1 tsp. olive oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Add 3 cups baby spinach and cook, tossing, until wilted, about 1 minute.  Add eggs; cook, stirring occasionally, until just set, about 1 minute.  Stir in 1-2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan.  Sprinkle with crushed red pepper flakes.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

Photo submitted by Leonardo Scarnici