A Few Interests ...

I am always on the lookout for new recipes, tips, etc to try.
We are both foodies (admittedly) and love to experiment and vary our menu.
Here are a few of my favorites from this week.
Do you have any new recipes that have made your to try pile?
Ciao! Amy


Menu Plan 9/2-9/8/12

We had a nice end to week by going Roundpeak Vineyards and attending
the last grill fest of the season with friends. The picture above is as the sun was setting
over the blue ridge mountains.  Gorgeous! 
Here's our menu from last week, a few carryovers that did not get made.
Homemade Breakfast Sausage
Sunday- 9/2/12
Breakfast - homemade breakfast sausage, hash browns and toast
Lunch - turkey smoked sausage with onions/peppers, fresh goat cheese &
pita chips & sliced nectarines.
Dinner - pork chops, fresh green beans and red potatoes
Monday - 9/3/12
Meatballs, leftover green beans and potatoes
Tuesday - 9/4/12
Vegetarian pizza on homemade sourdough crust with Cajun chicken wings
Wednesday - 9/5/12
Philly Cheese steak pitas and pasta salad
Thursday - 9/6/12
Shrimp, wild rice and veggies
Friday - 9/7/12
Chicken fried rice and egg rolls
Saturday - 9/8/12
Cheeseburgers and potato wedges
This post is linked up at:
Ciao! Amy


Fresh Peach Pound Cake

This is a recipe I found in my mother's collection and it's a keeper.
It's mild with a very nice peach flavor.  Use ripe peaches.
I usually add a dash of nutmeg to the batter for that little extra something.
Fresh Peach Pound Cake
1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 t vanilla
3 cups all purpose flour (reserve 1/4 cup)
1 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
2 cups fresh peaches, pitted, peeled and chopped
dash of nutmeg (optional)
* Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees.
Spray bundt pan with cooking spray & sprinkle with sugar
1. In a large bowl beat softened butter and sugar until fluffy.
2. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition
3. Stir in vanilla
4. Sift the 2 3/4 cups flour, baking powder and salt together
5. Add flour mixture to butter mixture a little at a time
6. Mix (reserved) 1/4 cup flour and peaches together
7. Fold peaches into cake batter
8. Spread evenly into prepared pan
9. Bake for 50-65 minutes, or until tester comes out clean
10. Cool 15 minutes in pan before removing
11 Serve with a dollop of cool whip after cool.
Ciao! Amy 


Multi Colored Pepper Taste Test

On our trip to the Blue Ridge Parkway we stopped at one of the state line markets.
The market had a variety of colored peppers we bought some of the purple ones,
& the ivory ones.  The red ones are from our weekly CSA box.
We were chopping them up to put in the freezer and taste tested each one.
The ivory is very, very mild and barely tastes at all.
The purple is very tasty and even has a bit of a kick at the end of the bite.
The red ones are sweet and very tasty.
We use them a lot in omelets, frittatas, fajitas, etc.
They got mixed together and created very colorful freezer bags of peppers to use later.
In the picture below you will also see cherry and grape tomatoes prepped for freezing,
along with some bigger tomatoes headed to the freezer.
Ciao! Amy 


No Bake Key Lime Pie

No Bake Key Lime Pie
This is one of our favorites during those hot days when it is too hot for the oven.
Light and refreshing.
No Bake Key Lime Pie
1/4 cup boiling water
1 small box lime jello
1 container 6 oz of key lime yogurt
1 container of cool whip
1 graham cracker crust (or homemade works well too)
1. Heat water to boiling
2. Stir in jello and stir until dissolved, cool slightly
3. Stir in yogurt
4. Fold in cool whip
5. Spoon into graham crust
6. Chill 4 hours or overnight before serving.
Keep leftovers in fridge.
* You can change this around by using different flavors of jello and yogurt.
Ciao ~ Amy


Menu Plan 8/26-9/1/12

It's time to get back to the grind now.  My week of vacation was great.
Relaxing, fun, spending quality time with my two favorite fellas.
Playing with Alpacas, picnics in the park and on the Blue Ridge Parkway
& watching movies with my fella.
Isn't this guy adorable.  So mild and funny! Feeding and interacting with them great.
They have huge teeth and sneeze a lot.  HA!
Sunday, 8/26/12
Breakfast - Prosciutto, hash browns, eggs, toast and fresh peaches
Lunch - Clean out the fridge
Dinner - Roast pork loin, carrots, celery and onion
Monday, 8/27/12
Dinner - Gyros - using left over pork loin, Freezer Tzatziki Sauce & pasta salad
Tuesday, 8/28/12
Grilled Ribeyes, baked potato and salad
Wednesday, 8/29/12
Parmesan Crusted Flounder, wild rice and veggies
Thursday, 8/30/12
Homemade Vegetarian Pizza on Homemade Sourdough Crust
Friday, 8/31/12
Patty Melts with pita chips
Saturday, 9/1/12
This post is linked up at
What's on your menu this week?
Ciao! Amy


Sourdough Update and Sourdough Dinner Roll Recipe

The sourdough starter continues to do well.  I feed it every other day.
At this point I am keeping on the kitchen counter instead of in the fridge. 
My second recipe with left over starter was to make sourdough rolls.
I have scoured the Internet looking for sourdough recipes. 
This Sourdough Dinner Roll Recipe was just what I was looking for.
We ate some with our dinner and the rest were frozen for a later date.
They turned out beautifully, soft, light and excellent!
Ciao! Amy


Recipes to Try List

I admit it I am a Foodie tried and true.
I love to cook and anything that has to do with cooking.
I grew up with a mother that was a "from scratch" cook.  You know what I mean.
As I gain wisdom (yes, age) in the kitchen I find myself wanting to
be more like mom and make things "from scratch". 
Here are a few of my recipes from my recent "To Try Pile"
I am looking forward to trying these.

What's in your to try pile?
Ciao! Amy


A Trip to the EuroDeli

We are lucky enough to have a European Deli not too far away.
Brad and I love drop by once a month or so.
The place is a veritable treasure trove of
European deli meats, cheeses,
pastries, sausages, pates.
We are throughly enjoying all our spoils from the EuroDeli Trip!

This trip we brought home:
Polish Cheese, Veal Loaf, Gypsy Bacon and Herbed Stuffed Bacon
(left to right in picture above)

Below: (left to right) Parma Prosciutto and snack sausages

Below: Teawurst
(This was new for us and hard to find.  It's a spreadable smoky tea sausage. 
German's spread this on crackers or crostini at "Tea Time". 
It's very similar to liverwurst or Braunschweiger)

Ciao! Amy


CSA Tuesday

A great CSA Box this week.

We got:
Banana Peppers,
Red Sweet Peppers
Red Potatoes

Did you snag anything good at the farmers market or your CSA this week?

Ciao! Amy


Menu Plan 8/19-8/25

I am on vacation this week.  We don't really have any major plans.
A trip to the mountains one day, a lazy day or three here or there.
A visit to the farmer's market, maybe paint the shed.
Just a take the week as it comes kind of retreat from work.
{sigh} Much needed.
Sunday, 8/19/12
Breakfast - Frittata (prosciutto, spinach, onion, mushroom, goat cheese, fresh tomatoes) &
Homemade biscuits, blackberry jam, french press coffee. 
Dinner - Cube steak, smashed potatoes, sauteed garden veggies
Monday, 8/20/12
Breakfast - Breakfast burritos
Lunch - leftover Sourdough Pizza
Dinner - Pork chops, mac & cheese, fresh Lima beans
Tuesday, 8/21/12
Breakfast - Prosciutto biscuits and grits
Lunch - Gypsy Bacon, herbed bacon and Polish cheese hoagies with fresh veggies
Dinner - Spaghetti
Wednesday, 8/22/12
Breakfast - English Muffins, homemade sausage, sliced tomato
Dinner - Cheeseburgers and chips
Thursday, 8/23/12
Breakfast - Oatmeal with walnuts and cinnamon
Lunch - Grilled Cheese, veggies
Dinner - Grilled Chicken Gyros with Freezer Tzatziki Sauce  pita bread
Friday, 8/24/12
Breakfast - BLTs with grits
Lunch - Deli subs with stuffed celery
Shrimp and flounder, baked potatoes and cole slaw
Saturday, 8/25/12
What's on your menu this week?
Ciao! Amy 


Sourdough Starter Update and Recipe

An  update on my sourdough starter.  It's progressing very nicely.
I stir it each night and have been feeding it every other night with
1 cup all purpose flour and 2/3 cup filtered warm water.

Last night I removed the 1st cup of starter and instead of tossing it,
I made pizza dough for our dinner.

The recipe is  Annies-eats Sourdough Pizza Crust is
absolutely wonderful.  Light, airy and we both deemed it a keeper. 
Also, a wonderful way to use up that cup of starter left over from weekly feedings.

We topped the sourdough pizza crust with:
Homemade-Italian-Sausage , red sauce, spinach,
fresh black cherry and yellow grape tomatoes from our vines,
mushrooms, Parmesan, mozzarella cheese and homemade goat cheese from our CSA.
It was one of the best pizzas that we have ever made at home.

Ciao! Amy


Sour Dough Starter (Experiment 1)

I enjoy making bread and sour dough is one of my favorites.
As my bread making skills improved over the years I have had a
desire to make authentic sour dough bread. But, I (let's be honest here)
have been intimidated by (yes, snicker if you must) flour, water and yeast.

I have read a lot of sour dough gone wrong stories.  Well, today this evening at
7:30pm EST I bit the bullet.  I created my first sour dough starter you see above.
I read, re-read, scoured the Internet for tips, etc.
Took a deep breath and bit the sour dough bullet. 

I hope you will follow my journey down the sour dough path
as I update my blog periodically on the sour dough experiment
growing in my kitchen as you read this.

My Sourdough Starter Recipe
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups warm water
2 1/4 t of bread yeast
2 t orange blossom honey

Place all ingredients in a large glass or plastic container and cover loosely.
Leave on counter for approximately 5 days.
Stir daily, add 1/4 cup flour and water every other day.

*Yellow "hooch" liquid may appear on top as the alcohol is released. 
Stir this back in the mixture.


CSA Tuesday

Another great box of goodies from our CSA Farm.

The goodies for this week are:
Yellow Squash
Banana Peppers
Green Pepper
Head of Garlic
Field Peas
Red Potatoes (Somehow they got left out of the picture)
Homemade Goat Cheese
Fresh Figs

Ciao! Amy 


Menu Plan 8/11/12-8/17/12

Another busy week with both of us working extra hours. 
We tried to incorporate a few meals that will give us leftovers and
we plan on using stuff from previous freezer cooking sessions.
It's times like this when you fall in love with freezer cooking days!

Sunday, 8/11/12
Breakfast - al fresco chicken apple,maple sausage, eggs, biscuits
Dinner - Beef roast, potatoes, carrots, celery, onion

Monday, 8/12/12
Dinner - Meximelts (made with leftover Beef roast), Spanish rice

Tuesday, 8/13/12
Dinner - Beer boiled shrimp and rice (left over from yesterday)

Wednesday, 8/14/12
Dinner - Cheeseburgers (Brad's working out of town, it's just me the 'lil man)

Thursday, 8/15/12
Gyros with Freezer Tzatziki Sauce and chips

Friday, 8/16/12
Grilled Chicken and veggies

Saturday, 8/17/12

Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies from the freezer
Fresh Fruit and Veggies

This menu is linked up with:
Ciao! Amy 


Freezer Cooking Sunday

It's been crazy around here with Brad and I working extra hours.
I haven't had a lot of time to do any extra cooking.
But, I have been thankful for the freezer dinners in my freezer for those nights
when there is no time to cook.

 I took a couple of hours
today to put up a bit of produce and make some bread. 
So we will call this a 2 hour cooking session.

Colby Jack Cheese Bread
makes 2 small loaves
 1 1/4 cup of milk
2 T butter, cut up
1 t honey or sugar (I used orange blossom honey)
1 1/2 t salt
1 1/4 cups Colby jack cheese shredded. Reserve 1/4 cup.
1/4 t black pepper
1/8 t garlic powder
3 3/4 cups bread flour
2 1/4 t of bread yeast

1. Add ingredients to your bread machine in order recommended.
2. Run dough on dough cycle.
3. Once cycle is complete, turn dough onto a floured surface.
4. Divide dough into 2 pieces
5. Shape into loaves and place on greased, cornmeal sprinkled pan.
6. Cover with damp cloth.
7. Let rise for 1 hour, or until doubled in size. In a warm draft free area.
8. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
9. Slash dough length wise and sprinkle with reserved 1/4 cup cheese.
10. *Optional* Sprinkle with basil, oregano or parsley.  I used parsley for color.
11. Bake 25-35 minutes or until done. 

Shelled field peas to freeze.

Froze whole tomatoes and cherry tomatoes. 
I wash them, dry them and throw them in a freezer bag for soups & stews in the winter.
How easy is that?
I also had Brad's help cooking 2 pounds of center cut bacon for breakfasts.

Ciao! Amy


Country White Dinner Rolls Recipe

We were out of sandwich rolls and the Country White Dinner Rolls Recipe was in my to try pile.
I threw everything in the bread machine, let it do all the hard work. 
Once the dough cycle was complete I took these out and baked them in the oven.
Our only complaint, I used my 2.5 inch round cutter for these rolls and they came out huge. 
I will use a size small to cut them out next time. I got 14 extremely large, softball, size rolls.
Very tasty, easy and a keeper.

Ciao! Amy   


Summer Squash Chocolate Cake

We had a ton of yellow squash.  I made squash this and squash that.
My mother use to make a yellow squash cake that was always a hit.
Below is her recipe.  This turned out very good.
It was moist, very chocolaty and we have both enjoyed it this week.

Summer Squash Cake
4 oz unsweetened chocolate
1/2 cup cooking oil
1/2 butter, room temp
2 cups sugar (I adjusted this to 1.5 cups, my chocolate was lightly sweetened)
3 eggs, beaten
1 T vanilla
2 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa
2 t baking soda
2 t baking powder
1 t salt
1/3 cup buttermilk or sour cream
3 cups coarsely grated yellow squash or zucchini
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Melt the chocolate and oil in a small pan, over very low heat
3. Cream the butter until light
4. Add sugar, eggs and vanilla to butter, Beat well
5. Add the melted chocolate and mix well
6. Sift the dry ingredients and stir into the batter with the buttermilk
7. Mix the squash and nuts into the batter.
8. Grease and flour two (9 inch) cake pans
9. Divide the batter between the pans.
10. Bake on middle shelf of oven for 40 mins or until tester comes out clean
11. Cool completely before frosting.
* I used some canned chocolate frosting I had in the pantry.

Ciao! Amy


CSA Tuesday

 Another great week from our CSA.  I am a day late posting, gotta love those sinus headaches that
put you out for the count.  I laid down with the intention to rest my eyes in the dark for a short
amount of time.  Next thing I know the alarm clock is going off and it is 5am. 

We got: Red Irish Potatoes, tomatoes, onions (not pictured), field peas, cucumbers,
a large watermelon and 3 lbs of ground beef (not pictured)

Did you nab anything good at the farmer's market or your CSA this week?

Ciao! Amy 


Menu Plan Monday 8/5 - 8/11

Here's the menu plan for this week. 
We have a busy week ahead, I tried to keep is simple and use items we have on hand.

Roast chicken, butter beans and fresh corn on the cob
Sirloin tip kabobs with veggies & mushroom bread using homemade french bread
(I'll post the recipe soon)
Flounder, baked potatoes 
Lasagna (from a previous freezer cooking day)
Philly cheese steak hoagies and pita chips
Grilled pork chops, herbed potatoes

What's on your menu plan this week?

Thanks for visiting. Ciao~ Amy  


Freezer Cooking Saturday

I had a lot of produce to process today.  I spent about 4 hours cooking today.
I scoured the internet looking for recipes to help me use up the produce.
I still have a few squash to use. 

Here's what I made today:
Chunky Tomato Bisque Soup
Stuffed Summer Squash
French Bread
Chopped Colored Sweet Peppers
Banana Peppers
Butter Beans (they got froze before pictures were taken)

Chunky Tomato Bisque Soup
I pulled a few things from several recipes and did the
mad scientist kitchen thing and created this. 
I left it a bit chunky instead of processing it smooth. This recipe turned out great.

3-4 pounds of tomatoes peeled
(I placed them in boiling water for 30 seconds and skinned them)
2 T sugar
1/2 -1 t of oregano
1 stalk celery minced
1/2 small onion finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 T butter

Saute the garlic, onion and celery in butter until tender in a nice size pot.
Take skinned tomatoes, they will be soft, sqush with your hand
 and place in pot with veggies.
Add sugar and oregano.
Simmer for 2 hours, or until condensed down.
Bag and freeze.

When ready to eat. Thaw, add 1 cup of milk, cream, etc and heat through.
Made 2 meals worth.

Stuffed Summer Squash
I had a lot of squash to use up. This was stuffed with Homemade Italian Sausage 
that was frozen last weekend. I also added a small can of mushrooms and
some of the tomato soup that was simmering. 
They will be topped with some cheese and heated up in the oven for a quick meal.
Made 2 meals worth.

French Bread
This French Bread recipe is from the Gourmet website.
It was a little more involved than the french bread I usually make, but turned out wonderfully.
Crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. 
As you can tell there may have been some samplers in the kitchen when this came out of the oven. MMM!

Chopped Colored Peppers
We bought 9 colored peppers at Aldi.  Brad helped me chop them up for the freezer.

*Not pictured: Froze banana peppers and 2 bags of butter beans from our CSA box.

Ciao Amy ~ 


Homemade Italian Sausage

We enjoy Italian Sausage on pizza and in Italian Dishes from time to time. 
I ran across a recipe for Homemade Italian Sausage and tweaked it better fit our likes.
The end result was excellent.  We make batches and freeze it for use throughout the month.
Let me know what you think...

Homemade Italian Sausage
2 pounds ground pork (or lean ground turkey)
1 T salt
1 T ground fennel seed *
* (start with whole seeds & grind them in a spice grinder, mortar & pestle, or the back of a spoon)
1 1/2 T paprika
1 T finely minced fresh garlic
1 T sugar
1 t black pepper
3 T apple cider vinegar

Mix everything together and saute or grill until no longer pink.  This is great with peppers and onions, topping for pizza, in spaghetti, etc. We usually take 1 pound of meat and divide into thirds.  The sausage is very flavorful, it does not take a lot to add a lot of taste.

You can cook and freeze or freeze after mixing everything together. 


CSA Tuesday

This week's CSA box was full of goodies. 
The Farm was also selling grass fed beef from a recently butchered cow this week.
We ordered a mini bulk package; 15-16 lbs of beef too.

1 yellow onion
1 yellow tomato
1 Cherokee purple tomato
2 red tomatoes
A mess of banana peppers
6 Irish Potatoes
6 yellow Squash
3 cucumbers
A mess of butter beans
3 packages of ground beef 1.5 lbs each
1 roast 3 lbs
sirloin beef tips
stew meat
cube steak
2 rib eyes
2 beef tenderloin steaks

Did you get any good produce from the farmer's market or your CSA this week?
Ciao! Amy


Chicken Parmesan

It's amazing what some leftover baked mac & cheese, some bread crumbs,
a beaten egg, some chicken tender strips, mushrooms and red sauce can be made into.

This was a quick version of chicken parm.  Very tasty! 

Ciao! Amy

Menu Plan 7/29-8/4

Sunday - 7/29/12
Hamburger Steak, baked macaroni & cheese, fresh green beans & carrots,
w/ fresh baked french bread

Monday - 7/30/12
Chicken Parmesan over pasta

Tuesday - 7/31/12
Salmon patties, mashed potatoes, roasted asparagus

Wednesday - 8/1/12
Oven roasted turkey panani's and pasta salad

Thursday - 8/2/12
Cheeseburgers, homemade potato wedges

Friday - 8/3/12

Saturday - 8/4/12
Meatball Hoagies, squash nibbles (recipe coming soon)

What's on your menu plan this week?
Ciao! Amy


Freezer Cooking

My Freezer Cooking day was flip flopped due to things that popped up.
I still got a few things prepared with Brad's help this morning.
My plan kind of flew out the window.  Here is what I managed to get done.

Homemade Italian sausage (I'll post the recipe soon)
Chopped sweet, vidalia and purple onions for the freezer (from our CSA)
Chopped colored peppers for the freezer
French Bread
Carrot Cake

Did you do any freezer cooking this weekend?

Ciao! Amy