Sunday, October 30, 2016

The Pumpkin takeover 2016...and Lolek

Every year in the fall this amazing and sprawling plant brings forth it's fruit:  the pumpkin.  In recent years the retail world has commandeered this massive orange squash in a variety of ways that has snowballed into nothing short of a massive takeover this year!  What began as a fresh fall idea for all beer drinkers a few years ago has ballooned into a frenzy with nearly no limitations!  From pumpkin spice tea, donuts, and lattes to a more aggressive takeover of the well-known and loved original cereals of Shredded Mini Wheat, Special K Crunch, and Life, not to mention the unheard of pumpkin-flavored(gulp) baking chips, marshmallows, cookies, granola, instant pudding?!  I thought I had seen everything until, alas, the Blue Dog Bakery came up with pumpkin flavored dog treats.

I'm a cookie butter fanatic and there is always a jar of Biscoff in the pantry, but the pumpkin flavored cookie butter made by some other company is completely gross, so I won't mention their name.   Actually, the biggest surprise on my pumpkin discovery was the tortilla chips, they were actually very good.  They are not sweet, rather salty and crunchy with a pumpkin hint in the background.  So, to my surprise, they were a success.

I asked the grocery manager at the Food Lion near me how many people buy the pumpkin flavored baking chips, she didn't think they moved at wonder...yuck!  I did not dare try the pumpkin spice instant pudding.....we just couldn't do that to our taste buds, I am a scratch cook for heaven's sake!   This discussion does not cover the complete list of "gone pumpkin" favorites, but just the tip of the iceberg, I tell you, beer varieties abound and so does the donuts, air fresheners, and tea and coffees along with cookies, on and on.  I even saw that Triscuit had a pumpkin spice cracker and I thought, if they pumpkin-fy my kid's beloved goldfish crackers...well there is no telling where my crazy would go.

Anyway, to be completely honest here, my most favorite orange treat in my world is my beloved little ginger, Lolek.  He is the sweetest feline buddy I know.


Sunday, October 23, 2016

King Arthur Flour's October Bakealong

 Oh this one was a breeze!!  I haven't used my french loaf pans in ages, so what a sweet opportunity it was!

These are the Everyday Whole-Grain bread that is the October bakealong challenge from King Arthur Flour company.   This bread worked up beautifully, with little effort. 

This recipe makes two loaves and as many bread dough are, it is versatile.  This time around, I made it in my French loaf pans, but next time I am planning on baking them in standard loaf pans so I can slice them for sandwiches and toast.  It is that good!!

The recipe is on the website, and there is a step-by-step link as's the link from their site

The dulcimer is my birthday gift from my husband last I have a violin, mandolin, both a saprano and alto recorder, and a dulcimer.....and a piano, but our youngest is the master of that instrument.   I, however, an the master of none of these, but I love playing them when I have time.  Isn't it a pretty instrument, my dulcimer?

Anyway, I found it looked kind of traditional, basic, and old-timey at the same time with the lace tablecloth.
Well, I hope you will try the bread and enjoy it as much as we did.  I served this first bake with chili and it was fabulous!

If you make it, I'd love to hear about it.  Comment below and share your pics!

Until next time!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

A Hubby surprise and Ginger Pickled Carrots.....YES!

The best part of being married to an open-minded eater, is being able to experiment with all kinds of recipes and getting his honest opinions along with watching him enjoy the fruits of your labor.  I am such a lucky girl.  Recently, I had the surprise of receiving a gift I truly didn't expect, my husband is a home-brewer hobbyist and is always looking/ordering/finding ingredients for his next batch of beer..usually online.  Well, I had put a few cookbooks that were new and upcoming, but not in print yet in the shopping cart on amazon, but didn't buy them yet and then forgot about them!! 
Crazy...I know. 

Anyway, he was hunting some beer ingredients this one day and discovered my books in the cart and decided to purchase one of them for me.  Super!  Not your momma's Canning Book...and what to make with them is that book!   I have been looking at this book for a couple of months and low and behold, it showed up on my porch the other day!

Immediately, I dug into it and discovered a few things I wanted to being these lovely ginger pickled carrots.   The recipe is in this book and it couldn't be easier!  My hubby loves them....along with my son-in-law, so it's a win-win!  It made three jars of carrots and to be honest, I didn't use anything other than my favorite chef knife and me.   It's a stress reliever to just sit and julienne was soothing, actually.

My next project will be mustard...but I am having trouble finding brown mustard seeds...if anyone has a suggestion, please let me know.