Delicious Fall Tailgate Recipe

 
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Football season in the Bluegrass means a sea of UK blue, bourbon-fueled tailgates, and lousy football. That's okay with me because my favorite parts of football games are hanging out with friends and watching the band perform at halftime, ha! Does anyone else go just for the atmosphere?

One of my favorite things to take to morning football or Keeneland tailgates in the fall is pumpkin bread. It still tastes very fresh the second day, so you can make it ahead of time and just slice and go that morning. The recipe I use most for pumpkin break came from Cooking Light, and I've adapted it slightly over the years. I like it because it is a little bit lighter and just sweet enough. The recipe also makes two loaves, so you can take one loaf to a tailgate and keep the other one for yourself. ;) I've also frozen the extra loaf, and it saves well for a couple of months.

Pumpkin Bread

  • 3 1/3 cups flour (white or whole wheat works well)
  • 1 T baking soda
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 1 t nutmeg
  • 1 t allspice
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk 
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1 15 oz can pumpkin

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350.
  • Combine flour and next 6 ingredients in a bowl.
  • Place sugar, eggs, oil, and buttermilk in a large bowl. Beat with a mixer at high speed until well blended. Add 2/3 cup water and pumpkin, beating at low speed until well blended. Add flour mixture slowly, beating at low speed until just combined. 
  • Spoon batter into two 9x5 loaf pans coated with cooking spray. 
  • Bake at 350 for one hour. 
  • Cool 10 minutes in pans on wire rack. Remove from pans and cool completely on wire rack. 

Enjoy, and GO CATS!

 
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Have You Heard of Vegetable Cobbler?

 
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Fresh vegetables in the summer is simply the best, and while the temperatures are dropping a bit, there are still plenty of summer favorites, like tomatoes and peppers, at the farmers' market. Approximately 99% of the meals we make in the summer consist of fresh vegetables either roasted or grilled with olive oil, salt and pepper, and garlic (if we're gettin' fancy). While I could eat them prepared like this everyday, I changed things up recently and tried something new with our fresh vegetables and herbs. 

 
Do you store your tomatoes in the windowsill? They should really be kept out of direct sunlight, but I have a bad habit of putting them there to keep them from getting squished by other produce. Another tip - keep them stem-side down to allow them to conintue to ripen.

Do you store your tomatoes in the windowsill? They should really be kept out of direct sunlight, but I have a bad habit of putting them there to keep them from getting squished by other produce. Another tip - keep them stem-side down to allow them to conintue to ripen.

 

This savory summer cobbler was served at a cooking class I attended last month, and it was divine! However, I like my weeknight meals to require minimal time and effort because after working all day, I'd rather take a leisurely stroll with my dog or catch up on the latest episode of The Bold Type.  (If you haven't seen it yet and have a 17-year-old girl's taste in bad TV like myself, check it out.)

Channelling my inner-Sandra Lee (does anyone remember her from the Food Network?), I decided to take the recipe down a notch in time and effort and was pleased with the result. You can find the original recipe here, but this is my quick version. 

Base Ingredients 

  • 3 medium zucchini or summer squash
  • 3 large tomatoes
  • 1-2 bell peppers
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Topping Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cups Bisquick mix
  • 2/3 cup of milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Mix of chopped fresh herbs from your garden - I used basil, garlic chives, rosemary, and thyme
  • 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese

Directions

  • Lightly oil an 8″x10′ baking dish (or any baking dish that will accommodate the mixture) and pile in the vegetables and garlic. Toss with olive oil and add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Bake the vegetables for 20-25 minutes.
  • While the vegetables are baking, mix Bisquick and milk in a medium mixing bowl. Continue stirring and add spices, herbs, and cheese. 
  • Once the vegetables are roasted, top them with clumps of the biscuit topping mixture. It is okay if vegetables are visible in some areas. 
  • Bake for 10-15 more minutes. The biscuit topping should be slightly golden browned when done.

Enjoy! This dish was great reheated as leftovers. 

 
 

Never Fear the Okra

 
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Back when I was a fresh-faced 22-year-old, I did Teach For America. One of the most defining experiences of the two year program was the Summer Institute, which is essentially a five-week boot camp that is designed to get new TFAers ready to teach in their own classrooms. While there are several TFA Institutes catering to different regions around the country, my colleagues from Charlotte and I ended up at Institute in the Mississippi Delta. We stayed at Delta State University in Cleveland. You know, the OTHER Cleveland - the one in Mississippi. I have so many stories about the Mississippi Delta from these five weeks, but that is a different post for another day.

I share all of this because Delta State has best college mascot in the United States. They are the Fighting Okra.#feartheokra I'm not joking, that's their hashtag. I ate more okra that summer than in my entire life, mostly fried because we were in Mississippi. However, they pickled okra as well. I'm pretty sure pickled okra tops 100% of the salads in Cleveland, Mississippi, and conveniently, their local watering hole, The Pickled Okra, is named after it. 

 
Scary, huh?!

Scary, huh?!

 

Okay, I'll finally get onto sharing a new-to-me way to prepare okra!

I talk way too much about our CSA, but it’s changed my life. It pushes me out of my comfort zone, and it’s saved dinnertime more than once. I could go on… You can read more here.

A couple of weeks ago, we received okra in our CSA. I was terrified.#feartheokra I put it in the fridge and hoped Jay wouldn’t notice it. I didn’t speak of it until we were running a low on produce, AND it was the only green thing left in our fridge, AND we needed a healthy side for dinner.

While I like okra, I'm mostly accustomed to the fried variety. I’ve never fried anything, so I figured that wasn’t the best bet. I’ve recently attended a series of cooking classes, and the instructor always says to roast vegetables on 425 with olive oil, salt, and pepper if you don’t know what to do with them. Alrighty then, the plan was to roast it.

One evening last week, I headed out to play a tennis match and left Jay with instructors for making dinner in my absence. Roast the okra, I said. I came home to find that the crazy man put it in a cast iron skillet on the GRILL. I was either really hungry, or it was the best okra I’ve ever had.

 
Anyone else think I should quit my day job and become a food photographer?

Anyone else think I should quit my day job and become a food photographer?

 

There's not really a recipe. All you need to do is cut it into bite-sized pieces, and toss it with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Throw it into a cast iron skillet and place on the grill for about 20-25 minutes. Super easy, and I don't have to heat up my oven! We’ve made it a few times since then, and it may be my new favorite vegetable. Thanks, Jay!

Can you spot Annabelle?

Can you spot Annabelle?

 
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The State of Things

Y’all, this is the state of my kitchen right now. If you know me well IRL, then you know walking into this room shoots my anxiety levels through the roof. This is also a pretty accurate depiction of my brain right now; there’s a lot going on and a whole lot of mess.

Side note (because I always have one): We’re hoping to start a kitchen “face lift” soon, so this will make one heck of a before picture. Literally, anything we do can only make this disaster look better.

Side note (because I always have one): We’re hoping to start a kitchen “face lift” soon, so this will make one heck of a before picture. Literally, anything we do can only make this disaster look better.

This summer has been good. We’ve spent hours on the lake with friends and family, had long and lazy summer dinners from the grill (my favorite kind of dinner), and wandered through the Canadian Rockies for a blissful week.

This summer has brought some challenges as well. Two friends lost children, both in tragic accidents. My dad was diagnosed with cancer. The prevalence of hatred in our country seems to be growing. Additional responsibilities have been added to my plate, and I’m struggling to handle them with grace.

We’ve unintentionally stepped away from the blog to deal with life. We’ll call it a summer break. However, I’ve got a backlog of posts from June, and I’m planning to share a couple of more recent posts too.

Thanks for checking in with us. Let us know what we missed with you the past couple of months! I’m off to clean my kitchen.

 
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Friday Favorites

Last month, we asked you to respond to a poll to let us know what posts you like, don't like, what you'd like to see more of, etc. Thanks for your response! It was super helpful!

Overwhelmingly, people said they liked life updates and general lifestyle posts. Recipes, home updates and decor, and Kentucky spotlights were popular too. Friday favorite links were the least requested posts, so in lieu of that, here are some personal favorites and updates from the week!

A quick snap of one of my favorite spots in our backyard on the first official day of summer. I love that the hydrangeas are starting to bloom!

A quick snap of one of my favorite spots in our backyard on the first official day of summer. I love that the hydrangeas are starting to bloom!

  • I'm 29! I celebrated my birthday exactly one month ago, and I'm in denial that I'm in my last year of my 20s. In some ways I feel like I'm in a good spot for my age, but then I'll play the comparison game and feel like I'm not where I should be, especially career-wise. I'm trying to remind myself to be patient and grow at my own pace. Last year, I made a list of 30 things I wanted to accomplish or experience before I turned 30, and I'm feeling good about those goals. I'm hoping to write an update soon to track my progress. 
  • Lake Pajamas - Okay, so this is kinda a link, but I have been wearing these suckers nonstop! They are so soft and thick but not hot. They are more than I normally spend on jammies (hello, Target PJs!), but I wear them almost nightly and don't think that will change anytime soon. Sometimes when I wake up, I can't wait to go to bed that night just to put them back on. It's a sad way to start the morning, but I can't help it! 
 
Aspiring fashion blogger right here!! Just kidding.

Aspiring fashion blogger right here!! Just kidding.

 
  • Clearing the clutter - Despite moving and cleaning out a lot last year, the clutter is starting to creep back in. I can't really jump on the Marie Kondo bandwagon, but if her method works for you, then you do you! I'm more of a 40 bags in 40 days type of gal, so I made my list of things to tackle and am ready to clear the clutter! 
 
 
  • Facebook Marketplace - In the vein of clearing clutter, Facebook Marketplace is awesome for selling stuff. It has been around for a while, so it probably doesn't come as a surprise to many of you. I've had great luck getting rid of items and usually get my asking price for them. I've never been a big fan of Craigslist, and this is so much easier than shipping things with Ebay. Plus, I feel a little safer checking out the profiles of the buyers before making the exchange.
  • Weekends - We've spend a lot of time at the lake this past month, and today we are in Owensboro for ROMP, a bluegrass music festival. We're heading back to Lexington in the morning, and I'm happy to have most of the weekend at home. I'm planning to hit up the farmers market, make progress on my clutter-clearing, and attend a charity event for Central Kentucky Riding For Hope.
  • Annabelle - Annabelle loves all of the summer family fun. She got to help make homemade peach ice cream on the dock last week, but unfortunately she wounded her paw playing with a friend and had to be in an "Elizabethan collar" for a few days. She couldn't figure out how to lay down while wearing it. She's loving life now that her paw has healed.

What's new with you?