Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Thanksgiving Menu & Grandma Martone's Stuffing

So I am psyched about my Thanksgiving menu and considering there's only 4 of us eating, you'd think i was cooking for an army with the amount of food we will have. Hey, whatever- aren't the leftovers kind of the best part??

I have searched the interwebs high and low, scoured Pinterest, and brought out the big guns from my recipe book to come up with the perfect menu:

I got a brined turkey from WF with which I will roast with apples and onions, oh my! 
I will make a beautiful gravy using Saint Martha's tips 
Scalloped Potatoes will replace the traditional mashed, because no T family Thx meal is complete without creamy mashed turnips 
Peas are a must at MY Thx table, along with green bean casserole {which is another family's passed down recipe that I have obtained and will keep secret -for now- to protect the unnamed}
And for dessert, my husbands infamous Hazelnut Pumpkin Pie ala Sunny Anderson 
And let us not forget the stuffing. Oh, the stuffing... a T family staple.

Grandma Martone's Stuffing

{slightly modified by a newer generation}

Ingredients

1 12oz bag of Arnold's seasoned bread cubes
1 pkg Jones pork sausage roll
3 stalks celery, diced
1 onion, diced
1 stick unsalted butter
1.5 cups water
0.5 cups chicken stock

Instructions

  1. In a medium fry pan, cook sausage, onion and celery until sausage is cooked through, breaking up sausage meat as it cooks.
  2. Meanwhile, cook stick of butter in 1.5 cups of water on stove until boiling.
  3. Combine sausage and vegg mixture with bag of bread cubes in the bowl of a 7-quart crock pot. Mix well.
  4. Add liquid and mix well.
  5. Pour chicken stock over top of mixture.
  6. Cover and cook on high for up to 3-4 hours.
  7. Check every 1 hour or so and stir; adjust liquid if needed.

Notes

  • Ok- so full disclosure, the handed down recipe my MIL makes uses 1 stalk celery, 0.5 onion, and no stock. It is also traditionally cooked in the bird. 
  • I researched how to cook stuffing in the crock pot A LOT and most recipes I read said to cook on high for 3-4 hours using 2 cups liquid. A few said you can also cook on low for 7-8 hours but the majority suggested high heat. I added the stock to make 2 cups total liquid.
  • The above is exactly what I did during my trial run and the stuffing was perfect at 2 hours, 40 minutes.
  • The stuffing surprisingly binds together pretty well. I didn't need to add any extra liquid at all- you don't want it to be too wet.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

My Weekly Menu {with recipe links!}

We have already established that I heart fall. We have already established that I love my new workout routine. And I think it has been relatively clearly established that I am in a constant state of battle with myself re: healthy eating. I try. I really do. And when I have the time {and energy} to cook on Sundays, its NBD. I can plan ahead, get tt to go to the store and get everything I need, and then get to cooking. This week is one of those weeks. I need more of those weeks as we head into the holidays so that I can stay ahead of this whole "weight gain during the holidays" nonsense. 

Speaking of the holidays. I am hosting Thanksgiving for my in laws this year. EEK. I have never made a turkey. Weird, I know. So the next few weeks will be spent A- completely freaking out. And B- scouring Pinterest for ideas. It will be only the 4 of us, so I can't go super overboard with too much food... although that would leave copious amounts of leftovers so I may rethink that train of thought. Womp. 

People of the world wide interweb, tell me your Thanksgiving turkey secrets!! I beg of you. And any of your favorite side items too for that matter. New recipes, family recipes, secret recipes {I promise I won't tell!} I will not go crazy trying to stay healthy, this is the only real time you can get away with it after all, but I do have to watch some of the carb/white flour heavy items as my FIL can't do them. So far the items on the list are turkey {obv} and the request has been made for turnips. GROSS but I will do it for tt. And speaking of tt, I'm pretty sure that hunk of a husband of mine will make either a pumpkin pie or a pumpkin cheesecake that are his specialties, so I am not worried about dessert. Say it, I know you want to. I have a husband who's specialty is pumpkin dessert? No he doesn't have a brother. 

I am excited for my menu this week. There are a few new things and a few oldies but goodies. I like to find recipes that dont take a ton of time to make because on nights I go to the gym, I dont get home until at least 7:30pm. I have spent most of today meal prepping for breakfast and lunch, but dinners below are easy to make and relatively quick. I will point out that most weeks I flag anything I am going to make/recreate on Pinterest. I have a board that I update each week and take items on and off of it. Find me! 
{I will also point out that a goal of mine as I continue this blog is to start learning how to take pics of my food. This blog is super boring without pictures. womp womp. Food pics give food blogs LIFE. If I make it another 6 months, I think I will set up a little staging area in the new house. There will be so much natural light in the house so I am hoping that helps give me some inspiration.}

Upon waking:
I have finally started back on my ACV kick because of the crazy health benefits it brings and how much better I feel personally when I drink it daily. I am trying some new recipes besides just drinking it in water and struggling through it. I am probably drinking slightly less ACV but adding other healthy ingredients to my morning "tonic"
I came up with this combo last week and it worked well: Honey simple syrup + ACV + Cranberry juice + Fresh Lemon Juice >> mix in a mason jar and adjust amounts to your taste. ACV can be pretty potent so if you;re new to this, I suggest using more simple syrup because the acid in the juices do not cut the ACV at all. Add cold water to fill the jar and chill in fridge.
This week when I was making my simple syrup, I added cinnamon and turmeric to the heated honey and water to hopefully dissolve it. It doesnt appear to have dissolved completely, but I made the same tonic as above for this week.

Breakfast:
Pumpkin Cheesecake Oatmeal
The original recipe can be found here from Hungry Girl. I have never made this before but I am PSYCHED to eat it. As I mixed together the yogurt, pumpkin, and spices, I realized I was mixing up a big fat bowl of comfort. I am leaving OUT the raisins and definitely added a leetle extra pumpkin and a leetle extra pumpkin pie spice and a leetle extra vanilla and sweetener because I just couldn't help myself. I somehow refrained from sticking my face in the bowl. Now, aforementioned big fat bowl of comfort is chilling side by side with my big fat bowl of oatmeal. Whaaaa. Can hardly wait for tomorrow AM. I am probably going to be looking for a crunch though. Ooh I have slivered almonds in the pantry. Maybe I will top 'em up with that instead of raisins. Hmm.. stay tuned on that one!

Lunch:
Tuna cakes on a bed of arugula, cilantro and topped with avocado slices, and a little EVOO, red pepper flakes and lemon juice dressing
The original recipe can be found here from Nom Nom Paleo. I have made them a bunch of times following the recipe and they are so yummy. This time I miscalculated what I had vs needed at the grocery store, so I improvised slightly, using canned pumpkin purée instead of sweet potato, and I doubled the tuna amount and used 3 eggs. They just came out of the oven and appear to be ok- fingers crossed they taste good still!! These little guys sound really weird, I totally hear what you're  thinking, but have I ever steered you wrong? Not to my knowledge anyway. I promise that they are an easy, tasty, protein-packed snack or meal. I usually take two of them for lunch and its just right with a little salad or a veg. 

Snack:
Apples from the farm {Macoun and Macintosh, depending on my mood} with Teddys Old Fashioned All Natural Creamy peanut butter. Um- YUM. 

Dinner:
Sunday- a minor variation of my Cheater Chili 
Tuesday- Crock pot Short Ribs with Quinoa and Blistered Tomatoes
Wednesday- leftover Chili
Thursday- leftover Short Ribs {if there are any!} 
Friday- probably leftover Chili if it has made it that far 
Saturday- tt is cooking a special little surprise bday meal for me. Love this man.

Like for real. I dont think it gets much better than this. Tell me your feelings on the above. Likes, dislikes, and most importantly your suggestions.. lets get some conversating started in the comments below! 

XO 

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Spaghetti Squash with Pumpkin Marinara

In finding myself back on the food blogging wagon, I pulled out the big fat recipe book I keep on my kitchen counter, that has been collecting dust now that I have my iPad. Whoops. As I opened up the cover, the first sheet of paper I saw was a recipe I have never made, but thought it would be totes approps to use as my first recipe back, because it is Fall in New England which means #allpumpkinerrythang 

Ha. I'm so basic.

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Spaghetti Squash with Pumpkin Marinara

Recipe origin: no idea, I have it printed and tucked away. Thanks to whoever came up with it though!

Ingredients

1 large spaghetti squash
1 lb grass-fed ground beef
1-6 oz can of tomato paste + 1 1/2 cans water
4 Tbl cooked pumpkin {canned is acceptable}
3-4 pieces of crispy prosciutto, crumbled
1 large onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp each of: cumin, chili powder, smoked paprika, cayenne, cinnamon
1 dash nutmeg
S&P to taste
2-3 Tbl ghee or coconut oil, separated
Fresh basil, shredded 

Instructions

  1. Set oven to broil. Broil prosciutto for 4-5 minutes on a lined baking sheet until crispy. Set aside to cool and then crumble.
  2. Cook Spaghetti Squash {can bake, or I like to remember that I'm not actually a cave woman and cook mine in the microwave- quarter it, scoop seeds, throw in a Pyrex with about a half inch of water and cover with Saran Wrap. Nuke on high for 11-13 mins depending on the size of your squash} 
  3. While squash is cooking, heat oil in a pan and add onion and garlic. Cook a few minutes until onions are translucent and garlic is fragrant. 
  4. Add ground beef to the pan and brown. Add tomato paste + water, pumpkin, and spices. Mix well to combine, cook meat sauce until it thickens. 
  5. When squash is cooked, let cool slightly, then shred with a fork into a medium bowl. Toss with melted ghee/oil. 
  6. Add squash noodles to serving plates and top with meat sauce, crispy prosciutto, and shredded basil leaves.