A lil’ bit of this and a lil’ bit of that..

I received some exciting news today from a fellow blogger!  Karen Chandler, and her blog “Visioning”, has awarded me “The Versatile Blogger Award”. I started following her blog because of the beautiful and inspiring photos she captures with her camera.  She creates true artwork with her photography.  Thank you so much Karen! It is such a confidence boost to be recognized by other bloggers.  When you receive this award, you are supposed to write 7 things your readers might not know about you. Then, you award 15 other bloggers with his award. I hope to complete another post over my winter break to complete this. I try my best to make these recipes easy and accessible to all home cooks, no matter their skill level. Cooking, taking pictures of what I create, and sharing it with others is such an amazing and rewarding experience.

I’ve been in a rut lately because of my hectic schedule.  My meals have consisted of very basic dinner, which are not “blog worthy”.  I have a couple recipes in my files that I plan to post this weekend…

I did make roasted beets recently, but I added a small twist. I peeled/cubed the beets, tossed them with salt, pepper and garlic oil, and roasted them at about 400 degrees.  Right before they were done (check with a fork) I tossed the cubed beets with homemade basil pesto.  Obviously, you can use store bought pesto, but I happened to have some already made in my fridge. This tasted delicious on salads with goat cheese and a champagne vinaigrette dressing. The pesto gives the beets a whole new level of flavor!



Gone Camping

I love everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, about fall.  Some of my fondest memories are during this season.  When I was 8, my father started taking me canoe camping to the Boundary Waters near Duluth, Minnesota.  We went every fall until the end of high school.  The canopy of red, orange and gold leaves serenaded you as you portaged and canoed from lake to lake. The cool crisp air as you paddled across the lake on a sunny day…it makes me feel so alive. My husband and I met 9 years ago this October. We were married October 25, 2009.  We try to do everything we can during the fall season.  Camping, hiking, fishing….anything to get us outdoors. Even it is a simple campfire outside, we love spending this time together.

A friend from work invited us to go camping up in Northern Michigan last weekend.  We jumped on the opportunity.  It was 30 degrees at night, so we did not do a ton of fancy cooking.  Basic campfire food was prepared, which was absolutely delicious. I called the weekend “no carb left behind”.  I literally felt I was eating everything that wasn’t good for me…and it felt fantastic.  I kept telling myself, and my friends, that we were eating important calories to help keep ourselves warm.   :o)

My husband and I kayaked, fished, hiked and sat around the campfire enjoying a nice glass of wine and a cold beer.  The perfectly clear nights we had with a billion stars didn’t hurt either.  Wish we could have stayed for a week…

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The foods you see in the pictures:

*Bacon cooked over a fire…best idea ever.  We got tired of cleaning up bacon grease while camping, especially with all the critters.  By cooking it on our tripod that fits right over the fire, the clean up is a breeze!  Plus, you can’t beat the smoky flavor. There was also has browns with salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion and cheese.  Nothing too fancy.  One of the other campers also made eggs with boursin herbed cheese.  We also toasted our bread and English muffins over the fire.  It leaved the outside crispy and inside soft…so delicious!

*My friend decided to make campfire nachos.  She took all the chips, put them on foil with re-fried beans, cheese, salsa, onion and jarred jalapenos. We cooked it over the open fire on top of the grill grate.  I don’t know if I was just super hungry, but these were some of the best nachos I’ve ever had. I think it was the smoky undertones it had from cooking over the fire.

*There is also a picture of my cheesy potatoes. (*Last 2 pictures in gallery were from a different time, same recipe) I’ve been making these “foil pouches of love” for years.  You can add what you wish inside depending on taste, but this is what I did. I’ve done several variations, but the cheese potatoes seem to be a family favorite.  First, take one large rectangular piece of foil and lay it on the counter.  Place a second layer of non-stick foil on top.  Add a lot of sliced potatoes, a couple pats of butter, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion (if you want it), and cheddar cheese.  Roll into a tight long burrito so no juice can leak.  Cook on a grill or over an open fire until the foil gets dark on the outside.  When you open the foil, the cheese should have started to caramelize and crisp up.  The crispy cheese is the best part!  On a side note… I know this sounds fancy, but I usually bring a small mandolin to slice potatoes when camping.  It makes it go SO much faster.  I usually keep one with my camping gear.

The Autumn Drive

My husband’s family introduced me to an event held every year called “Autumn Drive”.  It is held in Woodstock, IL once a year. There are apple orchards, farms, antiques, ceramicists, apple cider donuts, kettle corn…need I say more? You go from barn to barn for several miles. We had such a great time and I plan on going back next year.  I picked up some fabulous foods and a neat pair of gloves with a matching “sock monkey” hat.  The hat was purchased, not only to continue my skills as a “fashionista” (oye), but to keep me super warm as I supervise my 6th graders at recess this winter. Anyway, my favorite was the selection of foods at the various farms.  The pumpkins were super cheap too!Helloooo kettle corn! 🙂

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The reason for this blog is to share my love and passion for cooking with everyone who stumbles upon it. I do not have a specific type of cuisine that I stick to and am open to trying anything. However, you will never find any shellfish recipes on here (I’m allergic). I love to experiment and create in the kitchen, and this will be apparent with all my cooking. It may turn out wonderful, or awful, but I won’t know until I try. I’ll let you know how each recipe went (good or bad), but please feel free to comment or add variations to foods I’ve posted. I’m always up for suggestions! I’d also like to hear if you tried one of these recipes and how it went. Food doesn’t always have to be perfect. If you happen to leave an eggshell in your dish, think of it as added protein ;o). Remember to taste often, take risks and don’t be afraid to get messy!

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