Pictures of the Week

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1) Halloween 2) Tough guy 3) Pumpkin pie barley 4) Beet carpacio 5) Party 6) Scary house 7) Scary good

5 Comments // Posted in: My Life

An Apple A Day {Apple White Cheddar Scones}

I finally checked out Mariano’s, a new grocery chain that is all the rage in our area. There is not one in my neighborhood but on my way home from girls weekend a few weeks ago we passed one that was have it’s grand opening. The store definitely lived up to all the hype! Amazing amounts of gorgeous produce, and the cheese section – I could have just spent the whole time in that section. I ended up grabbing an aged Gouda and big block of sharp white cheddar.

The meat section is pretty amazing too, their homemade sausage was delicious. I got a red pepper Fontina Italian sausage, they were on sale for $1.99/lb. There is a huge meat selection, and a large section of seafood too. Glad it is not too far from our house, because it is cheaper than Whole Foods and has a better choices than the fish market we often go to. They also have a bakery with some incredible bread, I got a pepperoni cheese bread that we devoured for lunch.

They also had my favorite, honey crisp apples from Michigan! I missed the last few weeks of the farmers market so I was happy I could pick up these apples up, I eat one every day. Honey crisps have become my favorite fall food.  And what goes better with apples than cheddar, sharp white cheddar to be exact. I made these scones for Blocktoberfest, and made them again recently from frozen. I love a fresh scone, day old scone not so much. They were just as delicious from frozen.

 

Apple and White Cheddar Scones

 

Beyond baking up and cooling the apples, these are really fast to throw together. They are more on the texture side of a biscuit, very light and airy. While I do prefer my scones a bit more dense and dry, these are delicious. Great for breakfast or as a dinner roll.

 

Apple White Cheddar Scones
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 2 honey crisp apples
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
  • ¾ cup sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded
  • ¼ cup half-and-half
  • 1 egg
  • egg wash
  • 1 egg
  • pinch of salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 °F.
  2. Peel apples, then cut them into a large chunks. Place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (or greased) for 20 minutes. They will take on a little color.
  3. Transfer apples to dish and set in fridge for about 15 minutes to cool.
  4. Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Set aside.
  5. Place butter, apple chunks, cheese, cream and egg in the bowl of an electric mixer with a paddle attachment. Mix on On low to just combine ingredients.
  6. With mixer on low, sprinkle flour mixture over the top and mix until the dough just comes together. It will be very wet.
  7. On large cutting board (or counter top) sprinkle about 1 cup of flour and place the scone dough on top of it. Sprinkle about ¼ cup more flour on top.
  8. Use your hands to bring all the dough together in a large ball, work it into a circle shape and flatten to about ½ think.
  9. Cut circle into quarters, then cut each quarter in half.
  10. Place scones on baking sheet lined with parchment or that has been buttered. Leave a few inches between each one.
  11. Make egg wash, beat egg with punch of salt. Brush over each scone, top with a pinch of sugar on each.
  12. {you can flash freeze them at this point, and bake from frozen about XX minutes}
  13. Bake about 30 minutes.
  14. Cool on wire rack.

 

I prefer the whole-egg egg wash, over just the yolk, it gives the scones great color. Results are the same if you egg wash before or after freezing, so go ahead and egg wash them before you freeze.

 

Apple and White Cheddar Scones

 

Next time I am going to try Gouda in place of the cheddar, I think that would be fabulous.

 

Apple and White Cheddar Scones

Good Eats!

11 Comments // Posted in: Breakfast/Brunch, Recipes

Pictures of the Week

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1) Mummy 2) Googley eyes 3) Apple cheddar 4) Boys 5) Fall! 6) Doggie treats 7) Human Treats

7 Comments // Posted in: My Life

Blocktoberfest {Pumpkin Cheddar Dip}

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

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.

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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.

pumpkin carving

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.

Pumpkin Cheddar Dip

Blocktoberfest {Pumpkin Cheddar Dip}
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetizer
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
Ingredients
  • 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
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Mix all ingredients, except pumpkin seeds, until well combined.
  3. Spoon mixture into an oven safe dish.
  4. Bake about 25 minutes, until heat through.
  5. Top with pumpkin seeds and sliced green onion
  6. 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.

8 Comments // Posted in: Appetizers, Recipes

Pictures of the Week

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1) Lake time 2) Work time 3) CU 4) Battle 5) Marathon 6) Ladies 7) Graves

4 Comments // Posted in: My Life

Pictures of the Week

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1) 7 2) Yum 3) Friday night 4) Oktoberfest 5) Rare treat 6) 25 years 7) FNL

3 Comments // Posted in: My Life

Chicago Half Marathon 2013

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.

Chicago Marathon 2013

I give credit to people wear a get-up and commit to it for the entire race, but I still think they are crazy…

Chicago Marathon 2013

Flashback to September, I ran the Chicago Half Marathon…

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.

Bears tailgate

I was looking forward to enjoying these…

Jalapeno Duck Poppers

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.

6 Comments // Posted in: Appetizers, My Life, Recipes, Running

Pictures of the Week

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1) pumpkin waffles 2) LAX 3) speed 4) art 5) Saturday 6) commute 7) #seasonale

7 Comments // Posted in: My Life

Pictures of the Week

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1) Road trip 2) cousins and friends 3) catch up 4) vodka bath 5) education 6) handy 7) awesome!

6 Comments // Posted in: My Life

Fall is in the Air

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.

red Swiss chard with apples

Red Swiss Chard with Apples
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 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
Instructions
  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Add garlic and stir constantly, until fragrant.
  3. Add the apples and stir to coat, cook about 1 minute.
  4. Add red Swiss chard, stir to coat.
  5. Add vinegar, salt, and pepper.
  6. 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.

4 Comments // Posted in: Books, Recipes, Side, Vegetable

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