Halloween preparations have begun at the Davis house. We've got our pumpkins carved, our not-so spooky decorations hung, a bucket of candy, a tray of spider cookies and even a few dog treats sitting next to my front door. Bring on the sugar craved trick or treaters. (and their parents) (and their dogs)
For years, I trick or treated with my kids while they went from house to house collecting sugary sweets that filled their little plastic pumpkins until they overflowed with sweetness. I am so thankful that we've always lived in a neighborhood where I felt safe taking my kids trick or treating.
My days of trick or treating with my pumpkin and my Dalmatian are over so I've taken on the role of handing out candy now. I do miss walking the neighborhood with my kids but I've discovered that sitting on my porch and watching the parade of trick or treaters come up to get their treat is actually quite fun too.
Weekly Menu (10/31-11/6)
Monday - Jack O'Lantern quesadilla and tomato soup
Tuesday - Honey Bourbon Spatchcocked Chicken
It's more than a mouthful to say but I'm super excited about this new chicken recipe to try.
Wednesday - Chicken Pot Pie Skillet Pizza
Another new recipe for me to test out.
Thursday - Sandwich night
I'm trying a Honey Whole Wheat Pull Apart Roll recipe from my Cooking Light magazine which will make the perfect base for some simple sandwiches.
Friday - Barbecue Dinner compliments of the soccer team fundraiser. Woohoo!
Saturday - Spending time with some family and friends and not sure yet what I am going to cook. (Just one of the struggles of trying to plan meals so far in advance. Some days I just can't predict what kind of food I will need.)
Sunday - Slow Cooker Chicken Chili served in bread bowls
Using up the leftover spatchcocked chicken from Tuesday night and trying a new bread bowl recipe. Yum.
Sounds like an easy enough menu. Hopefully I can stick to it and get all these meals on the table this week.
In the interest of full disclosure: some days even with the best of intentions, a dinner menu already planned and groceries bought - I still can't seem to get the meal on the table that I had planned to serve. I know that this happens to a lot of you who are trying to stick to a meal plan too. I don't want you to get discouraged. You're not alone. Life happens and sometimes whatever is causing you to disrupt your meal plan is far more important than sticking to a schedule anyway. I have to remind myself that even if I don't feed my family the meal that I intended to serve - as long as they go to bed with dinner in their belly - it was a successful day.
Have a great week friends.
It's common knowledge around here that short term memory is not my strength. (That's putting it mildly.) Call it middle age or lack of focus but I am a total space cadet when it comes to trying to remember simple things like where I put my keys.
Oddly enough, most of the things and places and people that I do remember are memories somehow related to food. I remember flavors and restaurants and dinners with special people far longer than I can remember what street I turn down to get to the post office.
I have very distinct memories of myself as a 10 year old girl sitting around my grandmothers kitchen table while we shared a package of stella dora cookies. We would talk about all kinds of silly things over our tasty snack and my grandmother never held back her opinion on anything. (Somehow grandparents get a pass on political correctness.)
For those of you who have never had the privilege of biting into a crunchy, anise flavored Stella Dora cookie - you are missing out. I don't think that I've had one of the delicious cookies since I ate them with my grandmother and to be honest - I haven't even thought about them for years.
My dad was in town last week so of course I had to load up on biscotti in preparation for his visit. I stumbled across this gem of a recipe on Pinterest and it met all of my dad's biscotti criteria - no butter and delicious looking. At the time, I really had no idea what a treasure this biscotti recipe would turn out to be.
It wasn't until I pulled one of these crunchy anise flavored treats off of the warm pan and and took my first bite of anise flavored goodness that I realized just how powerful a food memory can be. I was immediately transported back to my 10 year old self sitting across from my grandmother in her tiny kitchen. As a tear rolled down my cheek I remembered my grandmother just as she was when I was 10 years old.
Some of my strongest childhood memories are based on scents and tastes. I knew that food was powerful but I had never experienced that kind of emotional response to a single bite of a cookie. Up until that point in my 45 years on this earth, I had never had a food elicit such strong emotions and memories.
This recipe has given me new purpose in my cooking. I recognize now more than ever that food is powerful and memorable. Of course, I don't expect you to cry when you taste this cookie like I did but I still want you to try it. More importantly, I want all of us to be aware that food creates memories.
2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
pinch of salt
¾ cup granulated sugar
½ cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1½ teaspoon anise extract
Bake 20 -25 minutes at 350.
Let cool slightly. Remove from pans and slice into 1/4 inch slices.
Place slices on a cookie sheet and bake 8 minutes. Turn and bake and additional 8 minutes.
This recipe has me thinking --- what food memories will my children have of me one day? Hoping it will be something delicious instead of one of my many epic cooking fails. LOL Time will tell. Love you all.
Halloween is quickly approaching and I've got just the thing to add to your Halloween baking list - Devils Food Cupcakes!!!
These cupcakes are soooo good. Forget the candy bars - I'll take moist chocolate cake with fudgy chocolate frosting and chocolate shavings for my treat.
There is no trick to making these cupcakes. Follow my simple step by step instructions and you will be sinking your teeth into one of these sinfully good cupcakes in no time.
Devils Food Cupcakes
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup hot water
1/2 cup buttermilk, room temperature
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature, beaten
Fudgy Chocolate Frosting
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup light corn syrup
12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, melted and cooled
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened well
1 tsp vanilla extract
Fill paper lined cupcake pans, 3/4 full and bake 22 minutes at 350.
Add cooled cream to melted chocolate and whisk until smooth. Whisk in butter and vanilla.
Spread onto cupcakes.
I may just have to bake a batch of these cupcakes for all of the trick or treater chaperones that show up at my door this Halloween. ;)
I don't get home to Ohio to visit my parents as often as I would like to but I did manage to sneak in a quick weekend getaway this summer. It was a GREAT weekend filled with yummy food and lots of fun and adventure.
You know how you have those people and places that you absolutely HAVE to visit when you go home? I have more than my share of those people and places too and no trip home would be complete without seeing them if only for a short time.
It's no wonder that I'm worn out after my trips to Ohio because in addition to all of the usual spots I like to visit, I like to take all of the new sights around the town too. My parents took me on a tour through the city of Cleveland during my most recent visit. I was so impressed with all of the new improvements to the city.
The highlight of my trip to Cleveland? - A grocery store of course. This was no ordinary grocery store though. This was the most beautiful and remarkable grocery store that I have EVER seen.
My mom, dad and I all grabbed snacks from the grocery store salad bar and ate it in the wine bar on the second floor. Why don't all grocery stores have self serve wine bars? I think I just added one more stop to the can't miss places on my trips to Ohio.
In spite of what it seems like, I did manage to fit quite a bit of rest and relaxation into my weekend too. Sitting by the lake and catching up on my reading is one of my favorite things to do when I'm at my parents house.
My dad handed me a recent copy of his Wine Spectator magazine while I was home and pointed out a recipe for Cubano Sandwiches that sounded really unique. I immediately copied it into my list of recipes to try and I ended up making for him last weekend when HE came to visit ME.
24 inch long loaf Cuban bread
1 pound thinly sliced Jarlsberg cheese
1 pound thinly sliced black forest ham
1 pound thinly sliced roast pork butt
Sliced dill pickles
6 Tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 cup chopped white onion
1/2 cup vinegar
1/4 cup cilantro
1 Tablespoon oregano
8 garlic cloves, peeled
3 bay leaves
1 Tablespoon cumin seeds
2 Tablespoons salt
zest of 2 oranges
1 Tablespoon pepper
5 pound boston butt roast
Remove pork from grill. Wrap tightly in foil and let cool to room temperature. (Cool at least 4 hours.)
Grill sandwiches 3-4 minutes on each side. (I used a cast iron skillet.)
Cut sandwiches in half and serve with mustard.
Why have I not made cuban sandwiches until now? I cooked the pork a couple of days in advance which made the sandwiches super easy to put together at the last minute. These were yummy sandwiches and even Courtney (who was super hesitant) ate her entire Cuban sandwich. I hope that you will give these a try.
Fall weekends are the best. Early morning soccer games, playing corn hole in the front yard on crisp, cool evenings, wandering through a corn maze and a pumpkin patch --- weekends just don't get much better than that. Here's a few highlights from last weekend.
How often do you get the opportunity to play in a giant box of corn - or get in a giant hamster wheel? October is going by way to quickly. I'm doing my best to make the most out of each Fall weekend so I'm keeping our menu simple again this week so that I can maximize my family time and minimize meal prep time.
Monday - Grilled Salmon
Still savoring every bite of our Alaska souvenirs. Reminiscing about our fantastic vacation every time we cook one of these fabulous salmon filets.
Tuesday - Apple Gouda Stuffed Chicken Breasts
Found this recipe on Pinterest last week and it just sounded like the epitome of Fall. Apples, gouda, roasted chicken = yummy Fall dinner.
Wednesday - Grilled Cheese Bar
Trying something new for dinner. Setting out different kinds of breads, cheeses and toppings (avocado, bacon, salsa) and letting everyone create their own unique grilled cheese creation. Gotta love participation dinners.
Thursday - Leftover Night
Yup - it happens and it's a busy week so it all about the leftovers.
Friday - Flatbread Pizzas
Friday nights are busy so make your own flatbread pizza night with crusts from my freezer are the perfect choice.
Saturday - Cubano Sandwiches
Remember that pork butt that I cooked last week? Well, the leftovers are going to be used for these yummy sandwiches. I'll post the recipe for these on my website soon.
Sunday - Baked Cinnamon Sugar Donuts and Eggs
Sunday breakfast for dinner is always a big hit and lets face it - there's no better time to eat donuts than in the Fall.
Yet another Davis family dinner schedule. I hope that you can use some of my ideas and recipes to create your own menu for the week. Have a fantastic week.
Like my page on facebook.
Follow me on Instagram