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caramel-apple sangria

as I mentioned in my last post, my oldest son and  Daughter-in-law Amanda were in town for 3 weeks. ( click Here for more info on why such a long visit )
Last fall she was telling me about a sangria recipe that she stumbled upon somewhere that required caramel apple vodka.  My son drove all around Jacksonville looking for it.  When she finally made it, she said she couldn’t wait to visit so that we could make it 
( she also makes a mean citrus sangria that’s usually waiting for me when I visit them ) 

For the first part of their visit, alcohol was off-limits, but near the end we were able to enjoy this 

She couldn’t find the actual recipe (I think?) so we improvised 

When we first made it, it was a bit strong… So we tweaked it just a bit
1 part white wine

1 part caramel apple vodka ( Denver friends, I found it at Target in Glendale on the corner of Colorado boulevard and Virginia) 

2 parts apple cider 

Sliced apples

Cinnamon stick (which we didn’t have, but I’d add one next time)
Add the liquids together in a pitcher.  Slice the apples and add the cinnamon stick. 
Refrigerate overnight. 
I rimmed a glass magarita-style with apple pie spice and filled with ice. 

This was sooo tasty! Another friend of mine was just telling me about a fall sangria that used fireball candies!  Doesn’t that sound fun?

I’ve been taking pictures and writing recipes down..  I’m trying to get better about sharing them with y’all.   I also have a few ideas for fun giveaways! 
fall is my favorite  time of year!  I come to life in autumn 😎

 Here’s some of my past apple recipes

Cream of butternut and apple soup

Apple pie
Easy apple butter 
And came across This which has me nostalgic for days gone by… 

So.. What’s your favorite thing about fall? 

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the next food network star ( possible spoiler depending on when you are reading)

hands up.. who is watching this season?

 

* raises hand* 

If you are watching then you know that tonight is the season finale.  Ryan and I have been watching since the beginning, and the very first episode, he looked at me and stated, ” Demaris should be the winner” .

 

At first  was unsure, I mean she did a few things that I kind of thought were on the outrageous side..

 

but as time went on I realized that I LOVED her outrageousness and here we are at the finale, and she is one of the last 3! 

We watched her pilot last week, and Ryan turned to me and said, ” mom, you MUST make this”

 

* for those of you who do not know, Ryan is our middle child, on summer break from college, and a huge foodie ( like his mama 😉 ) *

 

so guess what i did last night? 

yuppers.. I made her recipes.

Sweet Potato Biscuits with Peppered Pork Loin, Apple Mustard Butter and Salad

Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/damaris-phillips/sweet-potato-biscuits-with-peppered-pork-loin-apple-mustard-butter-and-salad-recipe/index.html?oc=linkback

 

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trust me. you should too!

 

this was my first time making biscuits ( go ahead, be shocked, Ryan was) and ya know what? they came out really good!  Demaris does a good job of explaining how to not make them *humpy*

yes, Humpy. She said that on tv…  which is why I hope she wins, I would LOVE to watch her show. 

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I know that I promised you a recipe yesterday, but the weekend got away from me and I spent a lot of time outside, enjoying the perfect weather.

I promise, tomorrow… Roasted onion, garlic and red pepper sauce.

so simple, so good 🙂 

Make the most of the rest of your weekend! 

oxox

there’s a turkey in the backseat…

howdy friends!

I know that Thanksgiving seems like it was sooooooo far away, giving the shopping weekend that followed, but I had a few things to share with you and couldn’t get around to it until now, so do me a favor.. fire up the Delorean and come back to Turkey day with me… just for a minute ( or 10 )

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a few of you have asked me what I did with Theo after his 2 day salt spa bath….. when I was ready to put him in the oven, I removed hime form the brine.. rinsed him and patted him very dry with paper towels. I place some carrots, celery, onions and fresh herbs in the bottom of a roasting dish , the placed a roasting rack on top ( this makes the gravy extra yummy ) I stuffed the cavity with fresh herbs, onions, lemon and clemetines. Trussed him, then stuck a few fresh sage leaves between the skin and the breast an brushed melted butter all over him. Season with salt and pepper.

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place on bottom shelf ove 425 degree oven for 30 minutes… then reduce heat to 325 and tent with aluminium foil…Roast for a few hours ( depending on the size ) basting every 45 minutes or so….

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oops….. dont hold it in the oven too long…. 😉

remove the bird when the internal temp in the leg is 165… then let rest.

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ok.. so I have a story…. pull up a chair.. ( I LOVE storytime!)

Every year, after the dinner, we bundle up and take a walk.. ( like everyone else does 😉 So about 4 or 5 years ago, we were walking in downtown plymouth when we saw a rollerblader. Unusual? hmm.. not so much.

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but the station-wagon chasing her ( clearly a family member) well… that was a bit odd.

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The driver of the car was screaming at her ” get in the car…. I’ve got the turkey in the back seat” and she in turn was rollerblading as fast as she could screaming back to the driver ” I’m trying to get away form you.. can’t you see that?” and again…. ” but the turkey is in the back seat…

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now I know we all have some sort of drama around the holidays ( myself included ).. and although I’m not making fun of what was happening…. when all was said and done… we all just looked at each other and said, did that just happen?

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so our standard thing to say was ” there’s a turkey in the backseat”..

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then I found this card…

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ugh.. the pic is horrible.. but it is a station wagon full of turkeys!

So the following year, as we headed out for our walk . we were remembering the crazy walk from the year prior and discussed how we wouldn’t see anything that crazy that year….. so we decided to change that. We began the ‘Thanksgiving walk o Shame”

we all dress up in crazy attire and sing and dance and ‘decorate’ the downtown

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this is a pic from last year

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you can’t miss us… trust me 🙂 Its fun and like I said, we sing a dance around and remember all the little things that we are thankful for !

the pic is dark, but here is Jo & i from this year 🙂

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I love crazy traditions… SO MUCH!!

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so I’ll leave you with a few pics from our holiday…

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<img class="alignnone wp-image-2580" title="Thanskgiving table with flowers form my kiddos

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and lastly… I found this on the web… and decided to tackle it…. I am super proud of it..

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It’s entirely edible!! I made it out of bread!!!!

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one very last note.. you may want to re read I’m Thankful again…. I was afraid that I would leave some out and it turns out that I did….. and half of the paragraph about Scott disapeared… it made me sound heartless, really..

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so I have updated it 🙂 smoooches!

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now.. head back to the future! it’s Cyber Monday! .

field trip friday

back in THIS POST I explained how I shop at many different stores for different things.  These day , most of us have options, and to make the most of your money by utilizing these options just makes plain ol’ sense.   One of my favorite stores is none other than 

none other than Trader Joe’s..   Now some of you may be thinking… really a post about Trader Joe’s?

 

yes.

 

because I happen to know that some of you who read this have the luxury of living not to far from one and still have not yet been.

 

in contrast, I know many of you who do not live near one and would give anything to be able to go.

so yes, folks…  On Friday I went to Trader Joe’s… and this is my story ❤

~it all started one dreary Friday morning…  Lol.. jut kidding * giggle*

 

Tj’s is not your typical grocery store. In fact it is hard to describe. For those of you who think it is a high-end store, such as Whole Foods, you would be wrong. Tj’s is not a big store, but what is packed into each location is soe wonderful things.

They have tons of cheeses…  a food near and dear to my heart. I actually decided this past halloween that trick or treating would be MUCH more fun if it were trick or cheesing.

 

I’m serious. a different cheese at every house? how brilliant would that be?

but really.. it’s true.  they have a whole wall of cheese and it is the best price that you will find around… They have cheeses for all over the world! and often times some seasonal specials…see what I mean?  If you are lucky then you will go on a day that the cheese lady is making the rounds.. ( what a great job that must be 😉  This was a lucky day for me 🙂 cheese snack while shopping?

 

yes. please.

 

Next is the NUTS..  you will not find a better price on nuts anywhere.  And next to the nuts are the dried fruits.  if you are into making your own GRANOLA then tis is your haven….

 

and again…  you wont beat the prices.

 

They have a little counter where an employee is always cooking something to sample.. and a coffe urn for coffe samples. ( the free food samples is a great way to entice kids to go with you 😉

 

the frozen fruits and veggies are also a great deal here ( no pic… I’m sorry)  You wont find any name brands in here.. it is all their own brand … but trust me, the quality is second to none.  On the shelves above the frozen items are all sorts of snacks…  from mini sugar cookies shaped like cats to Ryan’s favorite, chocolate covered orange candies, seasonal crackers, etc….

 

you will find all sorts of canned items at fabulous prices… and lots of ‘meal starters’

 

you will find the friendliest of employees here. .. They truly love their job… love to talk food and recipes.  If you bring your own recyclable bag ( which y’all should be..) then you can enter a ticket into a drawing for a weekly Tj’s Gc!

let’s see.. have I forgotten anything….. probably… I’ll think of it at 3am…

 

so here’s my haul from Friday

 

* please forgive the carpy pics.. I’m currently having camera issues.. hopefully it will be fixed soon…*

 

I wont go over everything… but will talk a bit about what I bought..  The tube of tomato paste? 99 cents.  In the regular grocery store it is around 4 bucks. I bought parsnips… beacause Ry and i had parsnip puree somewhere and it was soo good! I need to work on a solid recipe so that when he comes home for Christmas, we can have it again:)

 

The chocolate bar… to die for!

Dark coconut caramel! yum!  and only 1 points plus per square for those who may be following weight watchers…

 

I bought 2 bags of the inner peas..  and I’m so glad that I did… they are a great snack!

Tjs almond butter is the best. I love this stuff.  Banana and almond butter on toast? yuminess.

 

and B12.. just because 🙂

 

 

the rosemary raisin crisps are one of my favorite things here! so. dang. good.  I think they are only available this time of year.. but I could be wrong.

pomegranate Kefir? yes. please.

 

the cheeses? both brie rounds and goat cheese rounds… each 2 pp and perfectly portioned.  Cute little mushrooms to stuff…  snow peas to steam right in the bag..

 

here is something else that you will find here…  great spice blends… with built in grinders…  all 2 bucks. beat that!

 

*do you see what I see?*

 

* the sugar, coffee bean and chocolate blend is amazing on hot chocolate! *

 

so there you have it… I hope that if you have not been to this store yet, you will find time in your future to do so. it really is like a little field trip;)

 

on lastly.. on my fb page ( like much of the free world) I have been posting what I am thankful for during this month of gratitude.  Today, I am thankful not only fo the extra hour of sleep this morning, but also that my pup, Fenway, is thankful for it as well..

happy Sunday friends 🙂

it’s here!!!

FALL is here!!  finally 🙂  For this sweater lovin’, apple picking, boot addicted, hayride & PUMPKIN fanatic…. my time of year has arrived!!!

and what better way than with soup.  That was last years’ recipe.( click on the word soup to get to that recipe)  And although very tasty.. I was in the mood for something a little sweeter… A little bit of research & I found Williams-Sonoma cream of butternut and apple soup! a perfect recipe for me to start with

  • Ingredients….from Williams-Sonoma website
  • 3 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1 Bermuda onion, chopped
  • 1 butternut squash, about 3 lb.,
    peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 6 cups low-sodium chicken stock
  • 4 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and
    chopped
  • 4 pinches of Spanish saffron threads, about
    1 tsp.
  • Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
( yes, chef, i know that i did not use Granny Smith apples…. I didn’t have them 😦

Directions:

In a large soup pot over medium heat, melt the butter. When the butter is foamy, add the onion and sauté, stirring occasionally, until tender and translucent, 4 to 6 minutes. Add the squash and stock, bring to a boil and reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the squash is tender when pierced with a fork, about 20 minutes.
I basically followed the recipe , the only change that I made was that didn’t have heavy cream ( I had used it when I made parsnip puree the night before & forgot to grab more) ( yum, BTW!) .. so I made the soup up until that point, then swirled a bit of milk at the end right in the bowl & garnished with some rubbed sage….
it’s as warm and fuzzy as my favorite boots 🙂
sianara summer!  it’s been real 🙂

Kale soup

mmm…. Kale…. one of my absolutely favorites. I don’t really know when this happened.. I don’t exactly remember eating kale as a child, but somewhere along the open road of life, kale & I met and  the rest is history..

So when our CSA share from Plato\’s Harvest Organic farm contained not only one, but TWO types of kale to chose from. I was a bit delirious

and leeks!!!

I could barely contain with the excitement of making kale soup!!

I’m serious.  this was possibly the highlight of my week.

my recipe..

1/4 cup olive oil

2 onions, halved & sliced thinly

6 links of Hot sausage, cut in half lengthwise & cut into half-moons

3 garlic cloves, smashed

2 quarts chicken stock ( I had one quart homemade & 1 quart reduced-sodium store bought)

large can of whole tomatoes ( or fresh prepared)

2 bay leaves

2 pounds potatoes, scrubbed clean & cut into quarters (I used baby potatoes.. if you used larger ones, cut in inch size pieces

1 large bunch of kale , rinsed & leaves torn form stems into bite size pieces

I parmesan cheese rind ( I save them when I get to to the end of the cheese & freeze them just for soups like this 😉

1 can each red kindney beans & white cannelloni beans, rinsed & drained

1 teaspoon paprika

cayenne pepper to taste ( I like mine on the HOT side )

salt & pepper

Heat oil over medium heat in large dutch oven; add onion, sausage & potatoes. Sprinkle with salt & pepper.

Allow to cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally (everything will start to caramelize)

Add the garlic, stirring immediately then add the stock, tomatoes, bay leaves & cheese rind; bring to a boil.

Add the kale all at once and push down into the hot liquid. Add the remaining spices, reduce to a simmer & cover.

Cook until taters are tender.

Remove bay leaves  and enjoy!!


I served it with bread from our bread share…

and individual apple crisps for dessert

topped with whipped cream & apple butter

oh.

yeah.

apple picking part deux & giveaway!

My sister Jodie called me earlier in the week to see if I was interested in going apple picking.  Despite the fact that we just went last weekend I eagerly said yes!

This meant

1) some quality girl-time

2) I could use up my apples from last weekend to make more of that yummy apple butter

So I loaded my crackpot with all the fixins’ & we headed back to the orchard.

no. wait. That’s Ryan from years ago.

THIS was yesterday… My niece, Mollie was desperately looking for a green apple. She was a bit excited when she found one!

Ali & my niece, Alexis…

♥Lex♥

we went for a hayride to a pumpkin patch

Lex was very concerned with liability issues

Jodie, Lex & I found the cornfield

Jodie with her girls

Ali & I

Mollie munching on one of many apples..

I fell in love with this little apple… it’s perfect!

to give you an idea of how little it is, I placed it next to my coffee mug.

♥♥♥cuteness♥♥♥

so now.. for the giveaway…

In honor of my passion of all things APPLE   (and my pathetic attempt to see who’s reading) I’m going to give away one of those new-fancy-dancy apple corers!

All that you have to do is

a) comment on this post as to what your favorite apple dish is

OR

b) sign up to receive new post via email

OR.. if you do both, then you will be entered twice!

The winner will be announced Friday evening…

good luck!

a is for apple

b is for butter.

Put them together & you have

apple butter !

Actually, apple butter does not contain any butter.  I also have never tried it.

so what would possess me to attempt to make it?

The fact that we went apple picking this past weekend.

I thought this apple was a little bit funny 🙂

there was not any cider-making going on. Somehow the soda can in front of the apple press seems so wrong…..

We have gone to the same orchard for years…  Jason, Scott & Ali..

Jason, skinny michelle & baby Ry….

this is the first time that  there wasn’t any cider.  I’m not sure if it’s a sign of the recession, or if we were just too early ..

we were sad 😦

So.. back to the apple butter


I decided to make it mostly because  everyone expected me to bake a pie.

I’m a rebel 😉

Also, I’ve been on a canning kick, ( never too soon to think about the upcoming gift-giving season) so when I found a recipe that someone had commented that the canned it.. I was all in!

All Day Apple Butter

I made a slight change to the recipe ( don’t I always?) I don’t like things overly sweet, so I cut the sugar down to 1 cup & added 1 1/2 cup brown sugar.

first  I peeled the apples

then I  inserted my super-cool new corer into the center.

why is so super-cool?

because when you pull out the core, you press the lever & the core pops right out!

cool, eh?

ya know you want one 😉

chop up dem apples

mix them all up with the spices & sugars..

and cook.

and cook.

and enjoy how wonderful your house smells

♬♬♬♬ all. day. long.♬♬♬♬♬

The apples did break down over time, but I found that I  had to use my trusty immersion blender to get the smooth texture that I was looking for.

oh.

yeah.


I canned most of the apple butter ( I had to save some for us to have on the chilly fall mornings..)

this was a great recipe !

on a funny note.. here is a shot that I took trying to feature the butter all processed

can you tell that we skipped mowing the lawn in favor of apple picking?


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