Where did summer go? Well, having photo-sensitivity makes summer the most difficult season for me, and this year it was a very hot, humid, and long summer. Sorry ~ I posted nothing. But there is always next year. But for me, hey, that's okay, because it is now my favorite time of year! October, November, and December are my favorite months, and I have been loving and savoring this autumn!
I enjoyed a beautiful fall day picking apples with my daughter and soaking in all the colors of foliage that is Autumn in New England (which I find one of the most glorious things).
We got A LOT of apples! So, that weekend we made apple pies, one for us at home and one for my mother. I made them in a pinch, didn't have any particular recipe, so looked up online and used Martha Stewart's pie crust recipe (how could I go wrong ~ the crusts came out flaky and delicious). Then I just loaded that thing with apples, tossed in flour, sugar, and cinnamon. They came out great. I used mostly Macintosh apples, with a few Cortland and Honey Crisp added in. My husband likes his apple pie served with some slices of very sharp cheddar cheese, my daughter prefers hers served warm with vanilla ice cream, and I love mine the best at room temp, just as is.
But what I am blogging about today is something that brings back happy fall memories from my childhood. Every year, there would be one night where my mother would make apple dumplings for us for dinner. After being outside on a chilly afternoon, raking leaves for a while, then hanging out with friends, with it getting darker out earlier, we'd come inside, my nose and toes still cold from being out in the cold air for so long ... and smell that apple-cinnamon goodness coming from the kitchen. We'd all sit down to the table and dig in, often a friend or two joining us. It warmed me right up, and tasted just like autumn in bowl.
I've seen other people's apple dumpling recipes, and while they do look good, and I will try them sometime, my mother's is very different and unique. She first made applesauce, then used Bisquick to make the dumplings. And they are ~ amazing!
Click here for the recipe: Apple Dumplings ~ and may you savor and enjoy every autumn morning, afternoon, and evening!
Well, you never know what the weather is going to be like, regardless of what the calendar says. Here it is April, and we got snow! (Are we sure we set our clocks ahead, and not BACK a few months?!) An odd time of year for it, but I just added a new recipe to the Winter page here on my blog. Italian Beef Stew (click here to scroll down to find the recipe). Even though it's spring, we snuggled up with a warm fire and a hot bowl of this rich and hearty stew this weekend.
Easter is such a happy occasion. You can
feel a lightness, an excitement, a joy in the air. Many people have long-held family
traditions for this holiday...the holiest of holy days. How do
you celebrate Easter?
family used to have traditions, but as relatives passed away, moved
and so forth, the traditions sort of dissolved. But it's still
always a happy day. I do miss my big family and the homemade
(gigantic) raviolis, homemade pasta, ham, and of course, the Italian
Easter pie (a savory dish, not sweet), but we still always manage to
create a tasty meal to celebrate the day. This
year we are doing ham, but not as a hot meal. We are serving it
room temp, with rolls, pickles, olives, chips and dip, carrots and
hummus, potato salad, and deviled eggs. In addition to a
variety of fresh, soft rolls from the bakery to have with the ham, I
am also trying a recipe from the Kings Hawaiian website, using their
dinner rolls. Check it out...
http://www.kingshawaiian.com/recipes/ ~ Scroll down their page
and check out their ham sandwich and ham slider recipes....don't
those look good? I'll come back later and let you know how they
dessert this year we have my favorite carrot cake ever....with my
favorite cream cheese frosting ever... It's my mother's recipe and
it's the best. Of course, I could be partial to it since I grew
up with it. I'll be posting the recipe in mySpring
here to get to it.
It's not a light cake. You know how some cakes are light and
airy, and then there are others that are more dense, like a pound
cake? Well, this one is like the pound cake of carrot cakes.
It is very heavy and dense, with a delicious batter packed full
of finely grated carrots and walnuts. It gets a nice crispy
"crust" as it bakes (almost two hours!). We haven't
had it in quite a few years, and as I was making it yesterday, just
smelling the grated carrots, then the cinnamon, oh, it smelled just
like my childhood! Then of course I had to test (taste) the
batter. Oh ~ so ~ good! My
husband is not a fan of nuts (other than peanuts and cashews) which
is one of the reasons I haven't bothered making the carrot cake in
years. So I made him one of his all time favorite desserts ~
peanut butter pie. I'll be posting that in the Everyday
Recipes page here on my blog (just
scroll down to find it). It is a pie recipe you can easily whip
up, and I've made it for him for Thanksgiving before, for his
birthday...any time he mentions being in the mood for it. It
seems to work for just about any occasion. Even "just because."
you got a chance to experience some of the traditions from your
childhood Easters, from recipes, to coloring eggs, or to watching
your favorite Easter specials.
P.S. The Kings Hawaiian Rolls ham slider recipe was a hit! That might very well become a new Easter tradition.
I love St. Patrick's Day. I always enjoy listening to some Irish music today, and having a piece of Irish soda bread with a cup of Irish breakfast tea. And I have it in my favorite tea cup, which once belonged to my Irish grandmother.
Besides that St. Patrick is one of my favorite saints and that he helped spread Christianity throughout Ireland, I also enjoy this day just thinking of tradition and the Irish part of my life. A lot of fun legends and lore (such as leprechauns, fairies, banshees, selkies...), and lots of green shamrocks.
I love putting up holiday decorations around the house, yes, even for St. Patrick's Day. I have a green ceramic Celtic cross hanging outside on our door. I have two Beanie Baby teddy bears in Irish theme (nope, never did collect them, but I do love collecting seasonal and holiday items). I have two figurines of an Irish lad and lass, dancing. But my favorite St. Patrick's Day decoration is a small little porcelain piggy....all dressed up with a green bow and shamrock.
My Irish grandmother gave this piggy to me a long time ago, when I was probably around 12 years old. It was a March day, and my mother was taking my grandmother out on some errands and to do a little shopping, and the plan was for me to go with them. But I ended up getting sick and couldn't go. When my mother came home later in the day, she gave me this little piggy and said Grandma got it for me to cheer me up while I was sick. I thought it was just the cutest little pig, all decked out for St. Patrick's Day. And it did cheer me up. It made me feel that Grandma missed seeing me as much as I had missed seeing her. She passed away many years ago, and I still wish I had more time with her back in the day.
And so this little piggy has been with me ever since then. Back when I was a kid, I kept it on a shelf in my bedroom. These days I keep it peeking out of in my china cabinet, but in March it gets lovingly displayed among my other St. Patrick's Day decorations. And I sit and have a delicious cup of Irish breakfast tea, in my grandmother's tea cup, and remember good times ~ and good people.
May your troubles be less and your blessings be more,
We are nearing the end of Lent. How many of you don't eat meat on Fridays this time of year? Do you start to find it hard to plan something meatless for the whole family? Well, this old Italian family recipe of mine is great for meatless Fridays. A sneaky way to have seafood that is both inexpensive and widely appealing, even to the kids.