Monday, October 21, 2013

Apple Butter

Welcome to another episode of "Homemade vs. Store-Bought."  Today I'm butter.

A few weeks ago, Brian made some chicken and butternut squash in where the recipe called for apple butter.  He bought a huge jar of apple butter, which served as a glaze to the meat and squash.  It was good, but not good enough.  I expected more flavor, but it was flat.  I didn't write about it for that very reason, it was disappointing because it's got a bunch of my favorite stuff in it, and I adore autumn flavors.  (Apples, pumpkin, squash, get the gist.)

My mom came to visit this weekend since we were going to Rhinebeck for the NY Wool and Sheep Festival.  She was telling me about the apple butter that she had made, and was going to ask my Dad to bring a jar of it when he came the next day to celebrate my son and my SIL's birthdays on Sunday.  As soon as I opened the jar on Sunday, I instantly knew what the difference was.

I grabbed the jar from our fridge and presented it to Brian.  "Smell this."  He obliged and I asked him what it smelled like.  He said "It smells like nothing."  Exactly!  Next he smelled the homemade apple butter.  All the difference in the world!

I grabbed a couple of butter crackers for a taste test.  And another test.  And another test.  I finally sealed the jar and put it back in the fridge, because the homemade stuff that my mom made was so good, I was sure that I could eat all of it on crackers!

So....homemade is the way to go.  It's labor intensive, Mom said that it spent several hours in a crockpot, and was in the oven for quite a while too.  But so worth it.  I think that we should try the chicken and squash recipe again!

Leftover Pizza Day

What's better than Make Your Own Pizza for a birthday celebration on Sunday, complete with red velvet and chocolate mini cupcakes?

Going home for lunch on Monday, just for the sheer reason of using a toaster oven to warm up the pizza instead of getting it all rubber-y in the microwave.  Seriously delicious.  Bacon, peppers, onion, mushroom and garlic is a good combo.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013


Yesterday was Hubby and I's 13th anniversary.  Lucky number 13!  Since we're going to the Cape this weekend to celebrate, it was a pretty low-key Monday.  With the exception of dinner, of course.  At least, that's what was on the social calendar of the evening.

Brian chose a Rachael Ray recipe online, for "Sexy Surf and Turf."  How can you not like a recipe with a name like that?  It called for sweet vermouth, so I stopped at the liquor store to buy some.  Not being much of a drinker, I didn't know that there was a difference between "sweet" and "dry" vermouth so I'm glad that the recipe was specific.  The steak had a rich sauce with shallots and vermouth, aptly called "Manhattan Sauce."  Let me tell you, it was to DIE FOR.  The three perfectly-cooked sea scallops on top were excellent as well.  I had also purchased a bottle of prosecco, which neither of us had ever tried.  It was very nice, sweeter than the usual champagne.  I guess I DO like champagne, when it's cold and fresh.  The little sip that you get at a wedding toast is usually flat and warm.

So that was the "sexy" part of the evening.  The rest of the anniversary was decidedly un-sexy.  Pre-dinner, the sauce smoked a bit and set off the smoke detector.  In this house, if one goes off they all go off, and that really startled the kids.  Every window and door had to be opened, and a fan put on "exhaust" in the living room window.  Sean cried while Will hung out on the front stoop to get away from the noise.  Did I also mention the rain and potential thunderstorms?  After that was over, we sat down for a nice dinner.  The kids enjoyed their plain steak and rice.  No sooner were we all on our last bite, the power went out.  Apparently, it doesn't take much for that to happen around here!  With no TV, I read the boys stories from Will's school bag, and we all snuggled up on the couch and loveseat in the living room, by candlelight.  We got the boys situated in sleeping bags on their bedroom floor.  Many thanks to Papa, for getting them light sabers at a yard sale.  They make for great "glow sticks" in a power outage!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Perfect Piccata

Dude.  I had no idea that piccata went well with something besides chicken.  

It is INCREDIBLE on pork!  Lemon, capers, garlic.....absolutely delicious!

Another ATK 'Simple" recipe.  We've yet to make a bad recipe out of this book.