Monday, October 7, 2019

MAKING THINGS FALL & GREAT COOL WEATHER RECIPES




Hello Everyone!  I am turning over a new leaf (definitely a pun intended here).  I have to pick up the slack with posting and I think that may not be hard to do with the shorter days and me being all comfy and cozy in my PJ's at 7:00 p.m.  That gives me plenty of time to watch CNN, the Chicago news, and then an episode of The Real Housewives of ----, or a Hallmark movie (depending on my mood).  

I wanted to get back on here just a few days after my last post, but I didn't feel I had anything new to share.  The truth is, I haven't been using my camera very much and I need to work on that, so subsequently, I can't seem to weave my words together without that.  Tonight I decided I'd share some of my recipes that I have posted in the past focusing on cool weather fare, and I'll bring you all up to snuff on happenings in Blondieville as I go along.  You will find the Save icon on each photo to add them to your Pinterest boards

This first recipe is simple (as long as chopping isn't a chore for you).  I happen to find it therapeutic.




Beef Noodle Soup with Soy & Ginger

1 T olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped finely
1 T grated fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, grated
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 cup carrots, sliced matchstick style
2 cups cabbage, thinly sliced
2 cups broccoli florets
1 quart beef broth
3 T soy sauce
1 t toasted sesame oil
S & P
4 oz. noodles (spaghetti, Soba, egg noodle...your choice)

Cook the onion, ginger, garlic and scallions in the oil in a large stockpot over medium heat 5 minutes.  Add the carrots, cabbage and broccoli and cook another 5 minutes.  Pour in the broth as well as 2 cups of water, soy sauce and sesame oil.  Bring to a boil and season with salt and pepper.  Let simmer 10 minutes and add noodles.  Cook 5 minutes or until they are tender.  Serve with a pinch of sliced scallions sprinkled over the top.

This cooks up very quickly as you can see but the chopping takes awhile.  I happen to love chopping, it's relaxing for me.  You may want to prepare the veggies earlier in the day and then the whole soup will go together super quick in time for dinner.  

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Indoors I haven't been doing a whole lot in the fall decorating department.  I brought up a box of odds and ends from downstairs last week and it's still sitting on the counter.  And I have so much more.  I'm trying to purge this insane, disorganized, and cluttered room in my basement that's filled to the brim with holiday and seasonal decor.  I really feel I will chuck most of it but I'll set aside some things to bring to a local thrift store.   I've actually been on a sorting, purging and organizing mission...shoes, boots, purses, clothes.  I do feel much lighter in my heart when I donate.






I loooooove stuffed peppers but I wanted something  different than the tried and true ground beef, rice, and tomato sauce.  You can cut the heat in this filling by the type of peppers you use.

Jane's Spicy Stuffed Peppers

These were fun to make, and I just made it up as I want along.  I had a bit of an uncooked piece of center cut pork roast.  I used 1/2 of a piece of Chorizo sausage that usually comes in two lengths per 12 oz. package.  You can control the spice when using the Cajun spices and jalapeño peppers.  I've also been using farro as a go to for rice as it is slightly lower in carbs and all around healthy.

2 bell peppers, sliced in half and seeds removed
1 small piece of pork, about 1 1/3 cup,  chopped a little less than the size of a dice. 
3 oz. chorizo sausage, pulled apart into small pieces
1/2 cup farro
1/2 T canola oil
jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely diced  
1 poblano pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1 plum tomato, seeded and roughly chopped
1 c black beans
2-3 T Cajun seasonings
1 T oregano,
2 c Mexican cheese, divided
S&P to taste

Cook the farro in a good amount of water approximately 20 minutes until tender.  Drain  and set aside.  Meanwhile, sauté the pork cubes in the canola oil over medium heat for about 3 minutes, stirring and tossing occasionally.  Add the remaining ingredients including the farro, and 2/3 of the cheese.  Cook 5 minutes until well mixed and the flavors starting to meld.

Trim the bottom side of the bell pepper very thinly so that they will sit steady in the baking dish.  Spoon the sautéed  mixture into the four pepper halves, pressing it in firmly.  Top with the last bit of cheese.  Place the pepper halves in the dish and pour a scant bit of water around them so that they will stream.  Cover tightly with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

Serves 2 as a main dish, 4 as a side.


                                                               *******


I'm still a little behind the eight ball in decorating for fall.  My planters and window boxes are still looking good and I hate tossing something that's living.  We are however, having nights that go down to the 40's, so I'm contemplating their demise within the next few days.  I want to add some spring bulbs to fill in some areas in the backyard, and I'm thinking of trying my hand at planting some lilac bushes.  The Husband grew up with them in his childhood home so I think he'll like this.  I hope to get out this week and pick out some pansies, bulbs, and a mum or two.  When I take Poppy for her  walks I love to look at all of the pretty homes in my neighborhood and soak in the inspiration.🍁




Cheese & Onion Herb Spread

1 c. shredded Asiago (or Parmesan) cheese, divided
2 c. finely diced yellow onion
1/4 c. plain Greek yogurt
4 t. olive oil, divided
2 T. minced garlic
2 t. dried rosemary or 2 T fresh
Salt and pepper to taste

1)  Sauté onions in 2 t. olive oil over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until soft.  Set aside.  

2)  In food processor or blender combine beans and yogurt.  Pulse until smooth.  Add S & P, remaining 2 t. olive oil, garlic and rosemary and 1/3 c. Asiago cheese.  Pulse until smooth and creamy. 

3)  Transfer bean mixture to a shallow ovenproof dish.  Top with half the onions, half the remaining cheese and then repeat.  Bake at 450 for ten minutes.  Serve hot or at room temp with crackers, toasted bread or crudités.  YUM!!!!



Pumpkin Cheese Ball

I loved making this last fall, very simple and fun and a big hit when I brought it to my son's engagement party back in 2015.  Here's the recipe if you missed it.

8 oz. cream cheese
10 oz finely chopped sharp cheddar
1/4 c  blue cheese crumbles
2  t Worcestershire sauce
1/4 t celery salt
1/4 t  onion salt

 Mixture of approximately 1 cup finely chopped walnuts and 1 T paprika

*****

Mix first 6 in a standing or hand held mixer.  Roll into a ball shape and chill 1/2 hour while you grind up walnuts and mix with paprika in a small bowl.  Set aside.

Place the ball of cheese on a large piece of parchment paper.  You will need to shape the cheese into a pumpkin shaped form.  Bring the parchment paper up and around the cheese ball to keep from making it sticky and shape it into a round larger from the middle down.  Once done,  pat the walnut/paprika mixture all over.  Using a butter knife, score the 'pumpkin' like the real deal from top to bottom in a curved fashion.  Add a real stem (wrapped in plastic at the bottom) or a piece of celery for the stem.  Chill an hour before serving with crackers.  I doubled the recipe to make the cheese pumpkin you see in the above picture.  Serves about 12.  Maybe more. 




Simple Granola with Fruit and Nuts (Blondie's Version)

*****

3 cups oats
3/4 c slivered almonds
3/4 c raw pumpkin seeds
1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 t salt
1/4 c canola oil
1/2 c maple syrup
2 t vanilla extract
1 c dried cranberries
1 c dried apricots (chopped)
(you may substitute any dried fruit you like chopped uniformly)
2 T honey

Preheat oven to 325 degrees
In a large bowl mix the first 5 dry ingredients.  In a small bowl stir together the oil, syrup and vanilla.  Drizzle the syrup mixture over the dry and mix thoroughly.  Spread on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 50 minutes, stirring every once in a while to brown evenly.  Remove and toss with dried fruit.  Drizzle with honey and let cool.  Store in an airtight container.




Warm Bacon and Blue Cheese Dip

This is a hot dip your guest will remember, and if you bring it to a gathering, everyone will want to know the recipe.  Be like me.  Don't hand it out.  It's yours.  Guard it with your life.  Unlike I have just done here.  

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2 8 oz packages of cream cheese
2 T half & half
7 pieces of cooked bacon, coarsely chopped (reserve 1 T)
1 T chives
2 cloves of garlic, chopped finely
4 oz blue cheese

2 T chopped walnuts


Beat cream cheese and half and half in a mixer until somewhat smooth.  Stir in bacon, garlic and blue cheese.  Spread in a medium size casserole or pie dish.  Top with chives, garlic and blue cheese.  Sprinkle walnuts and remaining bacon pieces over and bake at 350 for 20 minutes.  Serve with crackers, pita chips, or small toast squares.  Be prepared for compliments.


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I sometimes wonder how this house here in the city sits so patiently while I'm at the lake.  And in the brief bits of time I come home, nothing much happens but a good cleaning and laundry.  I've been back now for a few weeks and it's been a whirlwind of appointments, get togethers with family and friends, stocking the fridge and cabinets, and doing all that purging I mentioned.  I also got us moving in redoing one of our bathrooms.  It's not a full gut, just the flooring, a new vanity top, and light fixtures.  The floor is done, and I'm almost decided on the light fixtures, then I'll call an electrician.  I'm also having some rooms painted to freshen them up, and little things here and there.  I like that The Husband is a little more laid back on me making some of these decisions, I don't feel I was very much interested in the past as to the bare bones of our houses, but I'm enjoying the process of changes.   I'll keep you posted.  




I'm sharing a recipe for my very own tried and true stew and I promise, if you make this version you will never go back to the one you've been doing.  As always, you can substitute veggies and seasonings. Use what you have on hand.  


Jane's Beef Stew

1 lb. beef stewing meat, cut into 1 inch cubes
1/4 c. flour
2 T veggie oil
1 c red wine
 1 48 oz. box of beef broth
1 c each chopped onion, celery and carrots
1 medium red potato, cubed
1/2 lb. Brussels sprouts, bottoms trimmed
S&P to taste
1 T dried oregano
1 T dried thyme
2 t. cinnamon
2 t nutmeg
1 bay leaf

Toss the stew meat with the flour in a large bowl while heating oil in a large oven proof pot or dutch oven.  Brown the cubes on all sides over medium high heat, turning when meat loosens from bottom of pot.  Remove to a plate and set aside.  Carefully add the wine and stir, scraping up bits of meat off the bottom of the pot.  Add the broth and bring to a boil.  Add the meat, veggies and spices and continue to boil 5 minutes.  Stir well, cover the pot with a lid and place in preheated oven at 325 degrees for 2 hours.  Remove and adjust seasonings to your liking.  Serves 4.

You will love this! Don't omit the cinnamon, it adds a bit of smoky but smooth flavor that's almost indescribable.   In this particular stew I used some Brussels sprouts sliced in half.  Use up what you have in your veggie bin or just switch things around as you prefer.

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In other Blondie News, the newlyweds, Abby and Tom bought their very first home.  They haven't fully moved in as they are having all the rooms freshly painted, the wood floors stripped and stained a darker shade, and one of the baths is being gutted.  It really is exciting.  Not only were they storing everything from their apartment on the Northside of Chicago while they lived at Tom's family home,, they had gotten tons of shower and wedding gifts that they can finally enjoy.  I spent a few hours there today where Tom was able to have all of "the boys" over for the Bears game.  Emily helped unpack dishes and I stood around making suggestions--ha ha.  No--seriously, the backyard is small, but the previous homeowners grew veggies in raised beds and Abby said, "I don't know anything about gardening, come on over whenever you want."  This is more exciting to me than my own home!  I'm eager to get started.

That's it for now except a photo of my Poppy.  Expect a lot of these as well as reports on her antics. 



She's cute, even when she's sleeping with here favorite toy,  Lamb Chop.  Don't you love all of her spots? ❤️❤️❤️

See you soon.  Let me know if you like any of these recipes enough to try them!

Jane

***I apologize for all of the changes in fonts and size of fonts.  I copied and pasted most of my recipes and I have no idea why some worked and others were funky. Let's just have a laugh! 

21 comments:

Tammy@T's Daily Treasures said...

Only in the high 90's today so we are cooling off. I know, that doesn't sound cool to most folks but if we are below 100 F during the day, then that means change is coming. I've started planting seeds and whatever happens, happens. It's either a success, or not. Always a learning experience. I have so many saved jars that I need to fill and gift. I'm thinking granola is a good thing to make. Currently crocheting different covers for all the jars. I don't decorate like I did when then kids were little. Have just a few things that I'll put out. Love seeing that sweet Poppy girl. Have a good week.

Vee said...

Dips are my downfall, especially in a family where I am the only one thus afflicted.

Sounds as if you are going to town on decluttering. I keep my car trunk filled with items for the Good Will. It’s the only way I seem to be able to get it accomplished: take it directly to the trunk without overthinking it.

Enjoy your projects!

Susie said...

Blondie, You are a good cook, and those recipes sound so nice....but I am to the point in my life where, I want those easy one pot meals. ..maybe it's lazy, or just busy. LOL. So nice the children are working on their house to get into it. I would love for our floors to be darker. :) Stay warm sweet girl, it's turning chilly here. Blessings to you and your family, xoxo, Susie
p.s. cute new puppy.

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

Congratulations on your purging efforts! I wish I could stop procrastinating and start the decluttering process too! Some of these recipes are calling my name with our evening temps getting downright chilly. Your beef stew sounds especially delicious.

Kit said...

Hello! Glad to see ya. To me purging is fun. Especially when I need to feel "lighter"...lol I am all decorated for Halloween. I love my orange and black about me. Great sounding recipes! So glad your girl found a house. Exciting!! 😊 Kit

Marty@A Stroll Thru Life said...

Oh all of the recipes sound soooooooo good. I need to try your beef stew and that pumpkin cheese ball will be fabulous at my next gathering.

Debra@CommonGround said...

I always love seeing what you're up to Jane. Your recipes are always so yummy looking, I love Fall and winter dishes that focus on comfort food. That pumpkin cheese ball is so cute and sounds delish. Sounds like you're busy as always. Have fun with your sweet pup, Happy October!
xoxo

A Quiet Corner said...

YUM to all of them, Jane! However, I think now I am craving stuffed peppers!!!!...:)jp

Lynne said...

Love your post, and all your recipes.
I saved your post onto my iPad screen so I can copy the recipes into my Paprika app.
For sure I will be trying the appetizers/dips . . .
And the beef stew with the brussel sprouts sounds like a winner.
Thank you . . .
And Poppy, . . . oh my, she is just plan YUM,
Love her spots!

Scribbler said...

I don't know if this comment will "take" since google/blogger doesn't seem to like me anymore, but I will take a shot. The recipes look wonderful, and I bookmarked the post to come back to. I am doing WW and boy is it a SLOW GO. It really does inhibit my creativity with cooking. 🙁

Have fun with your daughter's house. I am rather bored with my own right now -- I think I need to snap out of it! I am working on making some changes in the MBR, but it is more tiring than I remember. Maybe I need to just eat some chocolate or something.

Karen Ann said...

Hi Jane! Thanks for the recipe shares!! I am definitely going to try several of them! The Stew and the pumpkin cheese ball especially! I always appreciate the time you take to produce such a great post as this one. LOVE POPPY!! how adorable, what a lucky pup. In my next blog post I'm going to share a link to your post with all these great fall recipes, I hope that's OK with you.



Jeanie said...

I've GOT to get on the decorating stick. I have a little in the house -- and so much more could come up but I just haven't been into it. Now that I'm probably home to stay for awhile, it might kick in more! Just so much to do outside I've kind of ignored inside too.

Thanks for the recipes -- especially that blue cheese and bacon dip! YUM!

It's me said...

Hi Jane...What a delicious food....mmmmmmm...and owwww your sweet sweet puppy ...i am melting...too cute.....love from me Ria 💕💕💕

Karen Ann said...

I made the stew last night!!! DELISH!!... I make a good stew, too, but... I liked yours even better.

Amy at Ms. Toody Goo Shoes said...

How exciting about your daughter's new home! All of your recipes sound delish, Jane! I'm especially salivating over those dips, and will try both as possible New Year's Eve dishes. About the Cheese and Onion Herb spread - what type of beans and what quantity? Can wait to try them! The picture of Poppy is precious!

Bluebird49 said...

Always good when you post! Your life is so full, and you're making me want to eat warm bacon and cheese dip with a spoon.
So glad you've got Poppy, too. <3

NancyB said...

I will definitely give your beef stew a go! You have ALWAYS been a wonderful cook:)

Mereknits said...

Those recipes look delicious Jane. I love lilacs, we can't grow them here and I miss them so much. Good luck if you decide to plant them and good luck with the continued de-cluttering.

jonet said...

Many thanks for sharing this very good article. Very interesting ideas!

idn poker

Jill said...

YUM! Now, in the cheese and onion spread, you say to combine beans with the yougurt and make a layer of that. But you don't have beans listed in the ingredients. What kind did you use? Thanks!

Carrie @ Cottage Cozy said...

It all looks so good I am not sure where to starty...I just finished wathcing the final season of "Offspring"(gotta watch it)and am mourning not having any more to watch...better get cooking!