Have an adventure. Eat good food till your pants are too tight. Enjoy a good belly laugh.

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Cold morning, warm fire and cider donuts

My recipe for a perfect one-week-till-Thanksgiving morning is a chill in the air + a crackling fire + hot lattes and cocoa for the girls + the ultimate hot cider donuts fresh out of the oven and dipped in cinnamon sugar. I know you’re drooling. Here’s what you do.


Cider donuts

Whisk 3.5 cups all-purpose flour, 4 teaspoons baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon baking soda, 3.5 teaspoons ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg.

In your mixers bowl beat 2/3 cup granulated sugar and 3 tablespoons vegetable shortening until they look like sand. Add 1 egg plus 1 yolk and 1 cup applesauce. I like using cinnamon applesauce without chunks but it is up to you. after everything is well mixed add half of your flour mixture and combined. Next add 1/4 cup buttermilk and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. I accidentally spill a little extra vanilla extract in it every time, whoops. Then add the rest of the flour mixture and mix until just barely combined. The dough will be really sticky.

Set out a piece of parchment paper and flour it lightly. Coat your hands with flour and then scrape the dough out onto the parchment. Pat down the dough until its in a 7 by 11 inch rectangle or whatever shape as long as it’s about half an inch thick. At this point I always put it on top of a cutting board for a little stability then cover with plastic wrap or more parchment paper and put in the fridge. ¬†it needs to sit in the fridge for at least 2 hours but I always do it overnight.

The next morning heat vegetable oil in a cast iron pan till it reads 350 degrees. For me this means being patient with medium heat and then turning it down just a bit. You want to be using enough vegetable oil that your donuts will be able to just barely float, not sitting on the bottom. If they are sitting on the bottom they won’t cook evenly. While you’re oil is heating up pull the dough out of the fridge and start cutting your donuts and donut holes. I have a donut cutter but you can always make you with cookie cutters. When your oil is heated place a couple donuts in the pan and occasionally flip until they are a light brown color on both sides. Make sure to crack open the first one and taste test, as this is the only way to know how good the product is. ūüôā ¬†As you get the donuts done set them on a baking sheet lined with paper towels in a warm over.

When the donuts have all been cooked toss them in cinnamon sugar (2 cups sugar, 2 tablespoons cinnamon and 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice.) Please serve warm. They just aren’t the same once they have cooled off. In fact they are so horrible once cold that I should probably eat all the rest of these myself.

Num, num, num.

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A Pot of Italian Goodness… Braciole

I believe in the kind of Sunday dinner that has to sit on the stove over a low heat for hours smelling up the whole house until it holds the aroma of family.  The kind of food that makes people feel like they are home.  My favorite way to create this magical smell of home is to make a big pot of braciole, meatballs and sausages in homemade sauce.



Mix together & set aside:
1/2 c pine nuts
1 c parmesan regiano
1 c herbs (I like basil and parsley but feel free to play with this part)
1 T garlic (or to taste)

Heat a large dutch oven over medium heat.

Meanwhile on another counter… lay out 1/4″ thick slices of top round roast ideally in the neighborhood of 5″ x 7″ (can cut bigger pieces in half.) ¬†Season both sides with salt, pepper and a little oil. ¬†Give it a little rub down¬†and then set a half slice of provolone on each piece. ¬†Next, add a heaping tablespoon of the herb mix on top of each piece of provolone. ¬†Roll steaks starting on the thinest end. ¬†As you get them rolled up set them seam side down in the hot pan. ¬†If you are the skittish type you can secure with a tooth pick. ¬†Once they are browned on the one side flip them and brown the other side. ¬†Stuff will be falling out by this point. ¬†Let that make you happy as this is what will make your award winning sauce. ¬†Once they are browned on both sides pull them out, sent them on a plate and move on to the sauce.


Add to your dirty pan 1/2 a small onion. ¬†Cook 5 minutes till slightly transparent. ¬†Add 1T garlic and cook 30 sec. ¬†This is the fun part…throw 1/2 c or a bit more red wine in the pan and start scraping the brown bits off the bottom¬†so that they can become one with the sauce. ¬†Cook 3-5 minutes till it has cooked down by about half. ¬†Then add 2 big cans of crushed tomatoes. ¬†Bring to a slow boil and then add back in the braciole with any drippings. ¬†You can also add meat balls and sausages at this point.

Cook 2-3 hours.  By the time it is done the braciole should be fall apart tender.

Serve with pasta and garlic bread to loving family members.  If you want to serve this to friends that is fine too.  It will make them family.

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A fun night at home… no really!

I know this is going to sound crazy but I had the best night tonight. Tomorrow is Halloween which means it’s time for potlucks and snacks to go to schools and work. I ended up making pasta with bacon, butternut squash and roasted sage for my work potluck, bread pudding for work, a second bread pudding for the wonderful family that’s taking us trick or treating with them tomorrow and chocolate M&M cookies for the babys school party. I feel like I have accomplished so much and I have all this yummy stuff to show for it. There is nothing like making someone happy by feeding them!


I will share the recipes in the next couple of days but in the meantime have a wonderful and yummy Halloween!!!