September, gone in a flash, and October is about to do the same. I can’t let October slip by without a pumpkin recipe. Over the weekend we had out annual Blocktoberfest. The block party gods watched over us again, we have some pretty amazing weather considering it was the last weekend in October.
Blocktoberfest is always a fun time, and often the one time a year we even see some of the neighbors. Huge turnout, even ate into the night. Always a fun time with three consistent components year after year, awesome neighbors, great food, tie dye, and a fire pit.
Apparently we are competitive bunch, we had our annual chili competition, and added in pumpkin carving and pumpkin dessert contests. As the ballot counter, I voted for less voting next year. For my dessert entry I made my salted caramel bars, I mixed some pumpkin purée into the caramel sauce. Not award-winning, but tasty. I did pick up a prize for my pumpkin and my husband won the chili contest.
My side of the street was on the hook for appetizers. I knew I wanted to make one with pumpkin, and I wanted to serve something warm. I was skeptical throwing these ingredients together, luckily it turned out delicious. Turned out to my favorite of the day, hot pumpkin cheddar dip.
- 8 oz. low-fat cream cheese (room temp)
- ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
- ¾ cup pumpkin purée
- 3 green onions, sliced (reserve some for topping)
- ½ tsp. seasoned salt
- ¼ tsp. smoked paprika
- ¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
- roasted pumpkin seeds
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Mix all ingredients, except pumpkin seeds, until well combined.
- Spoon mixture into an oven safe dish.
- Bake about 25 minutes, until heat through.
- Top with pumpkin seeds and sliced green onion
- Serve with crackers and vegetables
A nice warm appetizer was perfect on a crisp cool day. And a good savory option for using pumpkin. Glad I didn’t let October pass without a great pumpkin recipe.
1) Lake time 2) Work time 3) CU 4) Battle 5) Marathon 6) Ladies 7) Graves
1) 7 2) Yum 3) Friday night 4) Oktoberfest 5) Rare treat 6) 25 years 7) FNL
Wow, this post is long overdue. Like a month overdue, is October seriously half way over?. Being a spectator at the Chicago Marathon this past weekend reminded me. Reminded me how I love races. I signed up for two winter half marathons today. I look forward to focusing in on a training plan, and getting back into a routine. My new work schedule as destroyed the routine I was in. The weather for the marathon was absolutely perfect! I went to watch my sister run, she did great. I was only able to catch her once on the course but it was fun being there anyway. I thought we had a great viewing vantage point here at mile 12, but she got past us. The street would go from near empty to being to crowded to see across.
I give credit to people wear a get-up and commit to it for the entire race, but I still think they are crazy…
Flashback to September, I ran the Chicago Half Marathon…
That “Healthie” is for you Biz! No matter how you slice it, a 4:03 am wake up time sucks! Especially when you are heading out alone. I actually meant to set it for 4:30, but lucky I screwed up as that would have been too late. I needed to catch a shuttle downtown by 5:30 am, made it just in time. But anyway, early wake up. I was kind of dreading the parking, shuttle, wait at the start, shuttle back, drive home. Seemed like a ton of trouble to go to with an awful early start time. I was tempted to skip.
I have a love/hate with the Chicago Half Marathon. I LOVED the year I got to pick the opening song! I love the course, but I hate the location. I love the distance, but I hate that it is at the end of summer (and often too hot). In dawned on me during the run that what I really hate is how I never train enough for it, so I never do as well as I would like. Note to self, train next time. I actually had a great experience this year. The transportation worked out perfectly, the weather was great, my run was pretty decent given my training. I had hopes of a new PR, but in the end can’t complain about my time, again given my training. I ran hard, and really had to push through the last mile or so (I had that same issue last time). I wasn’t alone in the rough finish. A young women in front of me fell on the last turn before the finish line, I was so sad for her. She had was driven to the finish. Just feet from the finish, the guy in front of me had his legs lock up, he just stopped dead in his tracks. Ugh, awful. Well in the end I was only 5 minutes off my PR. Imagine what I can do once I re-commit to my training.
I missed my normal Chicago Half Marathon running buddies, but as usual celebrated after the race, a Bears tailgate on the neighbor’s front lawn.
I was looking forward to enjoying these…
The theme was rare meat, I went with jalapeno duck poppers. Jalapeno, stuffed with spicy cheese, topped with a slice of duck, and wrapped in bacon. Good eats! Man that as all soooooo long ago. Have lots to catch up on.
1) pumpkin waffles 2) LAX 3) speed 4) art 5) Saturday 6) commute 7) #seasonale
1) Road trip 2) cousins and friends 3) catch up 4) vodka bath 5) education 6) handy 7) awesome!
It was all apples and pumpkins this past weekend. Fall must be close, it is my favorite time of year! Pumpkin waffles with cinnamon sugar butter, pumpkin beer, grilled cheese and apple, pumpkin cupcakes with Nutella buttercream and salted butterscotch, warm caramel apple cider, farmers market donuts. It was out first trip the farmers market this year, Fall is the best time to go. We got donuts and flavored butters, ya know all the best stuff grown on farms. The main purpose (beside the donuts) was to get some honey crisp apples, my all-time favorite! We also brought home some red Swiss chard.
We had a rare weekend of nothing planned, and man were we looking forward to it. It gave us some much needed time just hanging out, getting stuff done, and enjoying some time to cook and enjoy a great meal. We brined pork chops for the first time, our first experience with a brine actually. For some reason I thought a brine was complicated. Could not have been more wrong. Basically dissolve equal amounts of salt and sugar in boiling water, add seasonings of choice (I used garlic cloves, peppercorns, herbs, mustard seeds), add in some ice cubes to cool the mixture down. Once cool, poor it over the meat to cover and park it in the fridge over night. Rinse the meat well before cooking. We grilled the chops, and they were tender and delicious. A little on the salty side, but tasted just right to me.
When our friends visited last month they brought us a basket of goodies, one of the items was a cookbook, An Apple a Day. It has an apple recipe for every day, some great recipes in there. I’ve had it on the counter waiting to make some of the recipes. I got to two of them, actually three since the grilled cheese was in there too, this weekend. red Swiss chard with apples was one of them and it went really well with the brined grilled pork chops.
- 1 Tbls. olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, diced
- 1 apple, diced
- 6 cups red Swiss chard, sliced in strips
- 2 T. apple cider vinegar
- ½ tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. pepper
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add garlic and stir constantly, until fragrant.
- Add the apples and stir to coat, cook about 1 minute.
- Add red Swiss chard, stir to coat.
- Add vinegar, salt, and pepper.
- Cover and cook for about 10 minutes.
Vinegar and greens go hand in hand! The acid cuts the bitterness and the apple adds just a touch of sweetness. This recipe made me miss having a CSA, we always got such great vegetables in the fall. I ran across a great recipe for pork shoulder cooked in apple cider, can’t wait to give that a try this weekend. Hopefully with an apple dessert from my new cookbook.
1) Epic 2) Early 3) History 4) Garage band 5) Taste 6) Toofless 7) Tasty
We escorted summer out in style. We made the most of the three day weekend and had a ton of fun and good eats. Saturday we hit the Taste of Melrose Park, by far the best taste there is, even better than the Taste of Chicago. The food is amazing for $2 or $3 an item you can not beat the prices. What I really love about the fest is that most of the food being served doesn’t come from restaurants but from residents who cooked it up to sell. by from just regular The arancini and the stuffed Melrose pepper sandwiches are my favorites.
Sunday out friends hosted such a fun party! Multiple grills and a smoker going. Lots of delicious food. And fun people! Even a garage band assembled. Anyone that had an instrument brought on and they played in the party garage. Good stuff. I brought these bacon wrapped mini hot dogs…
They were a hit, gone in under a minute. They were a little sticky and messy to make, most of the glaze ran off and caramelized. I think next time I will try my sweet and spicy bacon recipe and wrap that around the mini hot dogs. Should make them less sticky, and a bit more spicy. I also brought a salad with some highlights of summer in it.
Monday, another BBQ with friends, and a brisket smoked all day. So good!! We contributed an appetizer, caramelized onion dip. Love this dip.
And a blue cheese coleslaw, stinky cheese makes everything better in my opinion.
Summer officially ends with a full belly. I am sad to see summer going, it was beyond fabulous. But luckily I love fall just as much. Bring it fall!
- 1 large yellow onion
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 Tablespoon. vegetable oil
- ¼ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- ½ cup sour cream
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- Cut the onions in half and then slice them into ⅛-inch thick half-rounds.
- Heat the butter and oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat.
- Add the onions, cayenne, salt, and pepper and sauté for 10 minutes.
- Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 more minutes until the onions are browned and caramelized.
- Combine cream cheese, sour cream, and mayo. Stir until smooth (mixer works best). Stir in onions.
1) 8th 2) 1st 3) Reminder 4) Puffy 5) Angry 6) Routine 7) Fried