Tuesday, August 25, 2015
I'm starting to see signs of fall quickly approaching. From the cooler temps here in Iowa to the apples, pears and squashes at the farmers' markets. But I'm still holding onto what little bit of summer we have. I'm not ready to give that up so easily, especially the berries and garden fresh veggies.
But I am busy starting to prepare what I can for the colder months, especially when it comes to our food. I spent a small portion of today grating away at some zucchini, stashing away small bags in the freezer for winter baking. Later in the week I'll be processing the first of the pears from my in-law's tree.
After I got supper in the oven tonight, I got busy mixing up this crumble. It will be perfect to have on hand for assembling quick desserts. While I love having apple and pear crisps all made up in the freezer, ready to be baked at a moments notice; these will be great for mixing and matching with any fruit I have on hand.
Add a batch of this crumble to your freezer, you'll be ready to dive right into apple season....or continue enjoying the wonderful fruits of summer while we still have them!
Fruit Crisp Crumble
2-3/4 cups flour
1 cup quick cooking oats
1 cup old fashioned oats
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup sugar
3 sticks butter, cold and cubed
In a large bowl combine flour, oats and both sugars. Cut in cubed butter using a pastry blender, until mixture is crumbly.
Using a spoon, divide mixture between five pint sized jars or even use quart sized freezer bags. Cover and and store in freezer. Use in your favorite fruit crisp recipes, perfect for an 8x8-inch pan.
Fills 5 pint sized jars.
Sunday, August 23, 2015
We've enjoyed a pretty relaxing weekend so far. The hubby golfed yesterday with some co-workers while I took the younger two to tour a Victorian house museum in our town. I remember going with my elementary class a long time ago so it was neat to go back with my own children.
This morning after church we're heading to my in-laws to pick pears from their tree. Last year their tree did not produce a single pear, so I am excited to harvest a boat load this year. I will love adding pear sauce to my freezer along with other items and of course enjoying them just as is!
Here is our meal plan for the upcoming week:
Toast, hard boiled eggs
Ham ball dinner (from the freezer)
Zucchini pizza bites
Shrimp and tomato kabobs
Tator tot casserole
Iowa chops, baked sweet potatoes, garlic-parmesan green beans
Barbecue pulled chicken w/slaw (from freezer)
Grilled chicken kabobs
*dinners will be rounded out with veggies and/or salads
Air popped popcorn
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
Today has been a perfect fall day, except it's the middle of August. I did love turning off the air and opening up the windows though. And baking all morning long. I haven't done too much lately so it was nice and relaxing to get the mixer going.
I've been meaning to mix up some of this cornbread for a little while now, it's a nice way to use up some of that garden fresh zucchini. It's just enough to give a little green color to your bread and add some extra nutrients.
I served this tender loaf with our meal tonight; oven roasted beer can chicken. It was the ultimate comfort rainy day meal. We drizzled a little raw honey over our slices. Just enough to sweeten our bread a bit. If you like a good cornbread I know you'll love this version. Tuck a few loaves away in the freezer for the upcoming fall soup season. You'll want to soak up all those flavorful juices with this yummy bread!
1-1/2 cups yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup finely grated zucchini
4 tbsp butter, melted
In a bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients and set aside.
In another bowl, combine eggs and milk. Gradually add in dry ingredients and mix just until combined. Stir in zucchini. Make sure to squeeze excess water from zucchini before measuring. Then stir in melted butter.
Pour batter into a buttered 8x8 inch baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove from oven. Let cool for a bit before cutting. Serve warm with honey or jam, if desired.
Sunday, August 16, 2015
I'm down to the last full week before I have to head back to work. It will be nice to be back into a regular routine, but I'm still not ready for summer to be over. This week will be devoted to spending our last few days at the pool while we can as well as finishing up any last minute tasks for school.
As far as our menu goes, I'm looking forward to trying out a couple new dishes this week. I've also been wanting to add some baked oatmeal to the freezer but my plan is to try tweaking my recipe a bit. I want to cut back on the sugar and make it a little healthier. I'll keep you updated on how that turns out!
In the mean time, here's what is on our menu for the upcoming week:
Smoothies- I've been having these almost every morning. Generally mine consist of almond milk, a large amount of spinach or kale, chia seeds, and frozen fruit.
Caprese garlic bread w/salad
Almond butter on cinnamon raisin bread
Beer can chicken w/potato wedges, grilled veggies
Grilled summer veggie sandwiches, baked beans, fresh fruit
Slow cooker meatballs served over spaghetti squash
Breakfast for dinner- french toast, eggs, bacon
Friday, August 14, 2015
We are most definitely known for our sweet corn here in Iowa. I always like to take advantage of the short lived season by finding a good source and stashing some bags away in our freezer. It's a comforting treat to enjoy in the dead of winter, a little taste of summer.
I created this soup a couple weeks ago for dinner one night. Even though it's summer and generally hot, soup is still a great way for us to incorporate those garden fresh veggies. Everyone in the family ate this right up, which I declare a major success.
My non-squash loving children didn't even notice the zucchini in there because it was pureed. So of course they'll gladly eat up the corn and potatoes. I did tell them about the zucchini being in there, while I think it's fine to sneak extra veggies into meals, I always want them to be aware of what they're eating. I don't think they minded though, especially since the small bit of leftovers were quickly gone the next day!
Summer Corn Chowder
1 tbsp olive oil
1 zucchini, diced
1 bell pepper, any color, diced
1 pound baby potatoes, quartered
2 ears corn, kernels removed from cob
salt and black pepper, to taste
4 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup heavy cream
In a stock pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add in zucchini and pepper. Let cook for about 10 minutes, until veggies are tender.
Remove from heat and combine cooked veggies with broth in a blender and puree. Return back to pot. Add in potatoes, bring to a boil and let potatoes cook for about 15 minutes, until tender. Then add in corn kernels and cream. Season with salt and pepper. Continue to cook just until corn is heated, about 3 minutes.
Remove from heat. Serve with fresh bread or sandwiches. Serves 4-5
Tuesday, August 11, 2015
It's been forever since I've made a dessert, which is probably a good thing. But I just had to make something this past weekend. So I made a pie for the family. A really easy yet delicious pie. And I even took some shortcuts with this dessert, which is not always the way I go. I love to get in the kitchen and work with more complex recipes, but hey, I'm human too and sometimes I love an easy peasy dish.
Josh took the girls to the pool in the afternoon and it gave me plenty of time to relax, make this pie and even do a little reading. It was great! I don't get a chance to enjoy some quiet time often enough.
Later in the evening we dove into the pie. It was a refreshing dessert. The filling was frozen, yet almost creamy like ice cream. The fresh berries tossed with a little bit of my homemade jam made for a perfect topping. And I always love a graham cracker crust, it's probably one of my favorite parts.
Feel free to take advantage of all the other berries in season right now, add those into your topping. Maybe even experiment with peaches? They'll all taste wonderful in this pie!
Frozen Strawberry Dream Pie
1 prepared graham cracker crust
1 lb. fresh strawberries, cut and divided
4 tbsp strawberry jam
2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
8 oz. whipped topping, thawed
In a bowl, combine whipped topping and condensed milk. Fold in 1 cup of cut strawberries and 1 tbsp jam. Spoon into crust and smooth out. Cover and freeze for 5 hours or longer.
When ready to serve, combine remaining cut strawberries and jam. Spoon over frozen pie. Cut into slices and serve immediately. Best enjoyed same day as made.
Sunday, August 9, 2015
We've got a fun and busy week ahead of us so I'm trying to keep our meals quick and easy for the most part. Tuesday we'll be spending the day at Adventureland; an amusement and water park just a couple hours away from us. I plan to pack lunch in the cooler for us to take with. Not only does this help save money, but I can ensure my family isn't loading up on junk the whole day.
Saturday the hubby and I will be enjoying a night away from the kids. I'm pretty sure our last date night was back in January for my work holiday party. Way too long ago! I'm planning a nice picnic dinner for us to enjoy. Going out to eat is always nice but a picnic sounds even more fun!
Anyways, here's what we have planned for our menu this week:
2-minute ham and egg bowl
Chicken and broccoli slaw
Packed lunch- Adventureland
Spicy chicken wraps
Grilled pork burgers
Date night picnic
*All meals will be rounded out with veggies and/or a salad
No-bake chocolate peanut butter coconut bars
Fresh fruit and veggies