The Family

The Family

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

What Do You Do With a Bushel of Apples?

Eat them, of course.

But when it's an entire bushel you have to find ways to eat them 1. so you don't get tired of them and 2. before they go bad.

So, let me count the ways for you.

First, there's the traditional way - whole or sliced. Going this route requires an apple a day for every member of the family, especially a husband much in need of fruit in his diet.

Second, there's the all American apple pie, best served with a reading of "How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World" and topped with vanilla ice cream.

Then you could try this harvest casserole, these apple muffins or this apple brickle dip.

Still have some? Just hand a few out to family and neighbors.

Then, when it looks like those remaining are on their last leg and the skin is starting to sag, peel them and cook some fried apples for breakfast.

That's what you do with an entire bushel of apples!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Mt. Cheaha

It's the highest peak in Alabama, and only about 25 minutes from the front door my parents call home.

I was hoping that the leaves might still be in their full color bounty, but to my disappointment most had fallen. The remaining brown ones looked as if they would be coming down within a few days.

I'm not sure why I haven't taken the kids there more. I'm also not sure why we didn't go more when I was a child. I remember spending a night in the lodge there with my Brownie troop once.

My cousin got married there a few years ago. It was mid-July, and the weather at the top of the mountain made it feel like an October evening.

The main reason I wanted to go this past weekend was because I recently saw a Facebook post about the restaurant. Several people commented on the breakfast, but after my experience there, I can't tell you why. To be brutally honest, it was likely the worst breakfast of my life. Later that day a childhood friend confirmed how disappointed she was after she and her husband went to dinner there for their anniversary last year, and she refused to touch her dinner once it was placed on the table.

It wasn't a total bust though.

The view from the restaurant window was spectacular!

And Mattie had fun playing, or should I say pretending to play, checkers with her Pop.

We also took a brief trail walk. The trail itself spans 130 miles. I imagine you'd end up in Georgia if you walked the entire way.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

CSA Wednesday

On Wednesday we head to a local farm to pick up produce as part of a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. Here's what we got today:

Collard Greens


I've said it before, but it's worth mentioning again that the kohlrabi reminds me of some crazy sculpture that should be in the movie Bettlejuice. Mattie thought they were spiders. Of all the fall vegetables we get, kohlrabi is my absolute favorite.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Harvest Casserole

A few weeks back I mentioned a sweet potato casserole recipe that isn't the typical sweet potato casserole recipe. I thought I'd share it today.

I made it last week for the first time in about a year, and Matt kept going on and on about how much he liked it. He's not one to get all excited about food, so for him to comment on it more than once must mean he really does like it!

I'll be making it again next week when we have family at our house for Thanksgiving. It won't be the first time I've made it for this holiday, nor will it be the last. This one is a keeper.

5 cups diced sweet potatoes (about 2 large potatoes)
5 cups chopped Granny Smith apples, peeling included (about 3 medium)
1 cup sweetened, dried cranberries
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into teaspoon size pats
1 cup quick-cooking oatmeal
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
Vegetable Oil

-Preheat oven to 400 degrees
-In a large bowl combine the potatoes, apples, cranberries
-In a small bowl combine 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon (I probably add a lot more because I love cinnamon and just add it liberally) and salt, then add to potato mixture, tossing with hands to combine
-Spoon mixture into a baking dish then dot with butter pats
-In a small bowl combine oatmeal, 1 cup brown sugar, flour, 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Stir in the vegetable oil (I just eye this until it mixes all the ingredients well. The recipe actually calls for 1 stick of melted butter, but I found the casserole tends to be too dry with the butter mixture on top. The vegetable oil gives is some much needed moisture.)
-Spoon the mixture on top of the casserole
-Bake, covered, 45 minutes
-Uncover and bake 30 minutes more

Sunday, November 16, 2014

A Much Anticipated Meeting

Two months ago their twin cousins were born. Friday was the first day they met them.

The boys were born prematurely and were in the hospital until a week ago. And while Matt and I had been able to see them and even hold them, the hospital's policy, understandably when dealing with babies in the NICU, is only siblings can visit.

Both Jack and Mattie were so happy to be around their cousins. Jack talked non-stop. He was amazed at all the funny faces they made as well as how small their feet are.

The boys are still so tiny that at two months they still don't weigh as much as mine did at birth.

We can't wait to make memories and have adventures with them in the years to come.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

CSA Wednesday

On Wednesday we head to a local farm to pick up produce as part of a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. And because I was too into a book last night to remember to post this, here's what we got yesterday:

Sweet Potatoes



Sunday, November 9, 2014

Gamedays with Matt

It's hard as a parent to try to get in meaningful one-on-one time with each of your children during the course of a week.

Even harder is trying to find time to yourself.

But hardest of all is trying to find time for your spouse.

We often talk in between other conversations. I'm not sure we finish most of the discussions we start.

There are many reasons couples need to spend time alone together in the midst of child rearing, but not many opportunities come along. 

Lucky for us there's college football.

Because we are both HUGE college football fans, this time of year does allow us to have some alone time. Well, that's if you count being with 87,000 other people as alone time.

Matt makes it to every home game. Last year I was able to go to only one with him, but it was the best game of the year!!!

This year I've made more of an effort to get to some games.

Yesterday we even forfeited making the tailgating rounds so that we could get into the stadium early and hang out there to talk before the craziness began.

Even though our team was defeated, and it felt like everything that could have gone wrong in a game did, it was still worth being together doing what Matt likes best.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Breakfast Casserole

I'll be first to admit that the idea of a breakfast casserole is not always appealing to me. I've seen plenty that are runny or gooey, which for something so early in the morning isn't the most appetizing.

A number of years ago my grandmother made a sausage casserole that is not only NOT runny or gooey, but a delicious and filling breakfast.

I get on kicks of cooking this one. I'm on one now.

It does take time to prepare, so a busy morning wouldn't be the best time to try this out.

1 lb. ground breakfast sausage (mild or hot according to your preference)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (the recipe actually calls for 2 cups of mozzarella, but I like to mix the two cheeses - you can add as much or as little cheese as you prefer)
1 8 oz. can of crescent rolls
4 eggs beaten
3/4 cup milk
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper

Cook the sausage in a skillet and drain it once fully cooked
Spray the bottom of a long casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray
Unroll the crescent rolls and line them along the bottom of the dish
Poor sausage on top
Add the cheese
In a bowl mix the beaten eggs, milk, salt and pepper
Pour the mixture on top of the sausage and cheese
Back at 425 degrees for 15-20 minutes

This is so filling that no sides are necessary. However, a good fruit salad or a melon mixture would complement this nicely. I love adding Tabasco on those days when my acid reflux isn't acting up. It gives the morning a nice zing!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

CSA Wednesday

On Wednesday we head to a local farm to pick up produce as part of a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. Here's what we got today:




While I know kale is all the rage, I must admit I'm not a huge fan. The only way I've found I like it is in a potato and white bean soup recipe.

And today I placed our order for a 15 lb. turkey for Thanksgiving dinner.