The pumpkin spice movement is in full swing. It is absolutely everywhere. I love a great pumpkin spiced drink but there are some things that just have no business in the pumpkin world. Pumpkin spice cereal, pop tarts, yogurt, protein powder, salsa, oreos, jello, applesauce, kale chips, popcorn, butter, marshmallows, peeps and almonds. I'm not kidding - I've seen pumpkin spice varieties of every one of these foods in the grocery store. (Do people really eat pumpkin spice peeps?)😝 I think we've taken this Pumpkin Spice Movement too far.
It seems like we heave ourselves into pumpkin season at the first sign of color on a maple leaf. Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts started selling Pumpkin Spice Lattes on August 21st this year! 😳 Personally, I like to wait until October before I indulge in a Pumpkin Spice latte.
If you're NOT a fan of pumpkin spice, I've got just the recipe for you. (Holly) It's packed with the fresh Fall flavors that you crave without even a hint of pumpkin. Apple Cider Doughnuts!!! I feel like the poor little apple has been pushed aside by the bright orange gourd as the featured fruit of the season. 🍎 I don't want to abrogate the pumpkin lovers. I love pumpkin as much as I love apples but I do feel like the pumpkin craze has overshadowed the appeal of a freshly picked, crispy Fall apple.
Apple cider doughnuts are just about the best thing about Fall. You can even make this dough ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator until you're ready to fry your doughnuts to save valuable time in the morning. They're perfect for breakfast, they make a great for a late night snack and they're a delicious addition to any brunch buffet.
Apple Cider Doughnuts
1/2 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of salt
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup thawed apple juice concentrate
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup buttermilk
4 Tablespoons butter, melted
2 quarts canola oil for frying
Dip warm doughnuts in coating and place on rack to cool.
I'll bet that you can NOT stare at these pictures without craving a warm, apple cider doughnut. This recipes is definitely getting added to my "fall favorites" category on the blog? If you haven't checked out this category on the right side of the blog - you need to. Lots of yummy apple, pumpkin and cinnamon inspired recipes.
Anyone else feeling a little freaked out by all of the food recalls lately? It seems like every day a new food is being recalled. Flour with salmonella, salmon with listeria, Romaine lettuce with e.coli and chicken with plastic contamination! And that was all in one week! It has me wondering what foods are actually SAFE to eat.
All of the recalls have inspired me to take more of a proactive role in my food safety. I wash ALL fruits and vegetables that I bring into my home now and I'm using my thermometer to ensure that meat, chicken and fish are cooked to proper temperatures, far more often than usual. I also quit eating raw cookie dough. Tragic - I know. 😂 It's hard to admit but the research shows that the uncooked flour in raw cookie dough is potentially more harmful than the raw eggs!! That's possibly the most disappointing news of 2019.
I've always taken food safety seriously but I've definitely stepped up my food safety game this year because of all of the food recalls. I know I look like a crazy lady when I dawn my rubber gloves and frantically start wiping down my kitchen sinks, counters, cabinet and drawer handles and light switches with bleach, but it's all in the name of avoiding cross contamination. It's probably overkill but it makes me feel better about the food that I prepare and serve to my family.
I learned a lot about food safety when I did my personal chef training and one of the things that they really emphasized was marinade safety. I wasn't aware that it isn't common knowledge that cooks shouldn't be marinating raw meat and then reusing that same marinade on cooked meat - UNLESS it's cooked in between to kill bacteria. As a general rule - if you use a marinade - "toss it out or cook it out" before you eat it.
This Greek Chicken recipe uses a delicious blend of oil, fresh herbs and spices and a hint of lemon in a marinade to infuse the chicken with scrumptious Greek flavor. Once the chicken is removed, be sure and bring the marinade to a rolling boil and a minimum of 165 degrees. Just trying to keep all of you safe from food born illnesses. 😅
1/4 cup olive oil
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 Tablespoon lemon zest
1 Tablespoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons oregano
1 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3 pounds bone in, skin on chicken breasts
juice from 1 lemon
If you follow my blog at all, you know that I'm a big fan of grilled chicken. I made a double batch of this deliciously marinated chicken and turned the leftovers into some very tasty chicken noodle soup. Grilled chicken leftovers are the best!
"Each year, the Great Pumpkin rises out of the pumpkin patch that he thinks is the most sincere. He's gotta pick this one. He's got to. I don't see how a pumpkin patch can be more sincere than this one. You can look around and there's not a sign of hypocrisy. Nothing but sincerity as far as the eye can see."
I'm so inspired by Charlie Brown that I planted a pumpkin patch of my own this summer. 🎃 I faithfully watered, weeded and cared for my growing pumpkin plants for weeks while I eagerly anticipated the giant gourds that would grow. And then ... we had our roof replaced. 😬
Unfortunately, my precious pumpkin patch fell victim to the collateral damage from our new roof installation. It was pretty much demolished by the pile of shingles that landed in its path during the removal of our old roof. 😞 My hopes of having the most sincere pumpkin patch in the neighborhood were lost. But if I'm being honest, a roof without leaks was far more important than having my own pumpkin patch.
Lucky for me, I can't go into a grocery store, a gas station or a hardware store in my town this month without passing by an overflowing bin of giant orange pumpkins just outside their doors. Pumpkins are definitely not hard to come by here. I'm also lucky enough to live near a couple of pick your own pumpkin patches so I really shouldn't be too disappointed by the fact that my pumpkin patch had failed. I still have access to great pumpkins.
We set another record high temperature today so there won't be any pumpkin spice lattes for me for a while. I'm still enjoying the flavors of this beautiful season though. A simple unfrosted pumpkin spiced cake with a handful of chocolate chips is the perfect thing for this girl who craves the taste of pumpkin but can't handle a hot latte right now.
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Snack Cake
1 cup flour
1 Tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup chocolate chips
Allow to cool. Cut into squares and serve.
Hey Dad - this recipe is lactose free! No dairy, no butter. Just thought you would like to know. Love you.
I love salad so much that in a perfect world, I'd be putting a salad together every single night with fresh from my garden ingredients. 🥗The tomatoes, peppers, spinach and cucumbers picked from my garden are the very best. I think I can taste all of the time, sweat and effort that I put into my garden when I bite into a garden ripe tomato that I grew myself. My home grown vegetables taste like the satisfaction of a LOT hours spent planting and caring for my precious vegetables. 🍅🌶🥒
Unfortunately, I don't live in this wonderful daily fresh salad fantasy world. I'm not a professional farmer. 👩🏻🌾 I'd describe myself as an amateur gardener at best. I don't have the time to grow, harvest and prepare my own salad ingredients all year long. I've stopped feeling guilty about buying my vegetables in a bag and started celebrating the fact that I managed to get a vegetable on the plate with our meal. 💁🏻♀️
Even though I strive for homemade - my reality is a dinner that's a beautiful mix of homemade and already prepared foods. Take this grilled jerk chicken dinner for example. I managed to get the chicken marinated and even boil a few ears of corn to serve with it while the chicken cooked on the grill. 🌽As for the rest of the meal - it was tortilla chips and salsa, a few leftover cherries and a salad straight out of the bag. 😂
The following day, I warmed the chicken and put it on top of the aforementioned leftover bag salad. I added some fresh veggies and a sprinkle of cheddar cheese and it was amazing. Not quite as good as if the whole meal would have been homemade but definitely quicker. And if I add up the cost of the plants, the seeds, the watering bill and the organic sprays to keep the pests from invading my garden - it was probably a whole lot cheaper. 🤷🏻♀️
Grilled Jerk Chicken
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 Tablespoons cider vinegar
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
1 jalapeno chile
10 sprigs fresh thyme
5 cloves garlic
2 1/2 teaspoons allspice
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
3 pounds chicken breasts
When I think of "jerk" seasoning - I usually think hot and spicy. This make your own seasoning blend is perfect for anyone who wants to customize their spice level. I took the ribs and seeds out of my jalapeno before I added it to my marinade so my chicken wasn't spicy at all. If you want to kick up the heat - add the whole jalapeno and maybe even a few more spicy peppers. Go ahead - spice it up. I dare you.
Pavlova is a meringue-based dessert named after the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova. Ironic isn't it? A tiny, slender, five foot, delicate ballerina with a sugary, sweet, whipped cream laden dessert as her name sake? I never actually watched Anna perform but I imagine that she was talented, graceful and determined ballerina. Come to think of it, maybe those ARE the attributes that it takes to make a great pavlova. After all, a dessert that requires a minimum of 4 hours to make is NOT for the faint of heart.
Don't freak out about the time commitment - stick with me here - most of the four hours involved in making this elegant dessert are hands off. You will have to ensure that you reserve at least 3 hours of uninterrupted oven time though. The pavlova will need to bake slowly in order to achieve the crisp crust with the soft, marshmallowy center. When the baking's complete, the pavlova will cool in the oven for an additional 1-2 hours.
It seems like a lot of work but trust me - it's soooo worth it. When you fill your meringue ring with fresh whipped cream and top it with fresh fruit - you are going to feel like you're floating on air. Maybe THAT'S why they they named this amazing dessert after the 19th century Russian ballerina.
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup egg whites
1 1/2 teaspoons white vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 pounds sliced stone fruit (apricots, nectarines, peaches, plums, pluots)
1 cup fresh berries (blackberries, blueberries)
Spoon whipped cream into center of meringue.
Top with fruit.
As you might have noticed from my pictures, I tried several different techniques to make these individually sized pavlova. (What's the plural of pavlova? pavlovas?) The technique that I liked the best was to fill a pastry bag with meringue and to pipe circles, starting in the center, onto the parchment paper. I feel like these were the most consistent and neatest looking pavlova(s). Enjoy!
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