Friday, October 29, 2010

Moving to the Country, Gonna Pick Me a A Lotta Apples

OK, so I'm not moving to the country.  But sometimes fall makes me want to.  I can't tell you the number of times we've gone out to the country this fall to do fun fall-y stuff.  A while back we went up to Homestead Farms in Maryland for our yearly apple picking trip.  it was an absolutely beautiful day.  We were late this season so we only had Cameos, Braeburns and Pink Ladies to choose from, but I still came home with 34 pounds of apples.

Homestead farms also has a petting zoo which I still love, even though I'm.... too old to enjoy a petting farm that much.  But, OMG!  Baby farm animals!  *Squeal*!  This year they had baby pigs with wagging tails (awww).  They had heirloom chickens, goats, a baby cow.

After a brunch with my ladies in the morning, gorging on testing apples in the orchard, a delicious, buttery caramel apple to snack on and a late lunch at Chee Burger Chee Burger, Eric and I both thought we might die.  We spent the rest of the night sacked out on the couch.


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Chicken and Apples in Honey Mustard Sauce

I have somewhere in the area of 34 pounds of apples.  We went apple picking a few weeks ago and I am overflowing in apples.  I also have 2 large bottles of apple cider.  I go a little overboard when fall flavors come out.  So even though all I want to eat is pumpkin stuff, I decided to make a dinner with some of those 34 pounds of apples.

Chicken and Apples in Honey Mustard Sauce

1/2 Cup Apple Cider
1 1/2 tsp Cornstarch
Black Pepper
1 Tbsp Honey
1 Tbsp Mustard (I used German Mustard)
2 Tbsp Breadcrumbs
4 Chicken Breasts
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
2 small apples, cored and cut into eighths
1/2 Cup Chicken Broth
Fresh Parsley, for garnish
Rice, to serve upon

1.  Whisk cider, cornstarch, mustard, honey, salt and pepper (to taste) in a bowl and set aside.

2.  Lightly coat chicken with breadcrumbs.  I used the flour, egg white, breadcrumbs approach.

3.  Heat the oil and add chicken breasts to a large non-stick skillet.  Cook over medium heat until golden brown on one side.

4.  Turn chicken, add apples and cook until brown on the other side.

5.  Add chicken broth, cover and simmer until chicken is tender; about 15 minutes.

6.  Remove chicken and apples to serving plates over rice.  Re-whisk cider mixture and add to skillet.  Cook and stir over high heat until lightly thickened and bubbly/ 1 - 2 minutes.  Spoon over chicken and apples, sprinkle with parsley.

Deep Creek Weekend

A few years ago some friends and I went to Deep Creek Lake for the weekend.  It was May, but it was still cold.  We had a good time.

We finally did it again this year.  Except we did it in Fall.  Such a better idea.  the colors were beautiful.

We got there Friday, bought much more food than eight people need for a weekend, got our fishing licenses (and I got a pink fishing rod!), played cards.  Had a grand old time.  JT and Eric put together a definite fall type meal of meatloaf and mac and cheese.  JT also brought three homemade pies.  I was warned many times that samples of all three had better be left in the evening when some other friends arrived.  I somehow held off and we had samplings of homemade apple cheddar pie, apple caremel pie and blueberry pear pie for dessert.

Saturday was a really fun day, but a really full day.  We started with scrambled eggs and bacon thanks to Eric after early morning fishing off the dock.  We went on a freezing cold boat ride and got stranded in the middle of the lake when the engine died.  Went fishing in the boat and had sandwhiches we brought along.  I read (of course).  We went to the Haunted Mansion at Wisp where I basically lost my voice due to screaming.  We came back to the cabin to a Top Chef Quick Challenge dinner of pasta, sausage and salad started by Eric and finished by Rachel and Marti.  Eric and Bryan built a campfire.  I taught everyone the essentials of S'mores making.  We made S'mores.  Whew!  I'm exhausted just typing what we did.

More pie for breakfast Sunday morning.  We were sad to go but we decided to make the Deep Creek Lake weekend yet another yearly event.

View from the cabins wrap around porch.
 Kota wishing she was playing in the leaves.
 We put glow sticks on the dogs so we could see them when they went outside at night.
 Dexter.  Always sweet and charming.
 At the table.
Dahlia playing cards.
Fishing off our dock. 
JT has crazy fishing zen.  He is the fishing master. 
 Rach taking pictures.
 Me breaking in my pretty pink fishing rod.
 As much of an action shot as you can get in fishing.
 Our sweet ride....that broke down in the middle of the lake.
 Boatin' crew
 Dahlia rode with me.
 Dex rode with Eric.
 Our fearless captain.

Our crew says goodbye to Deep Creek.  For this year.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Warrior Dash

Earlier this month Eric, some friends and I did a little race called the Warrior Dash, essentially an 3.5 mile obstacle course/mud run. 

A few days before, Meaghan and I came up with some awesome outfits.  We were the only ones who wore our all black outfits complete with awesomely cut up t-shirts.

We did show our team spirit by wearing matching turquoise bandannas.

We left at 7:00 for a long drive out to Nowheresville, PA.  On our drive we saw a bunch of what I can only assume to be Mennonites since we saw them on scooters (not motorized) and rollerblades.

I don't have any pictures of the race because none of us wanted to sacrifice our cameras to the race.  I'll tell you we had some pretty fun obstacles to go through as we ran through the fields and the woods.  I think it's worth mentioning that as we were running through the field, yet another Mennonite was plowing it (with a horse drawn plow) and looking at us like we were insane.  We scaled old train cars, ran over big dirt mounds, darted through rope "spiderwebs," climbed a cargo net, crawled through tunnels, waded chest deep through a freezing cold pond where we had to go over floating logs...that rolled, crawl through mud and jump over fire.

My knee started bothering me about halfway through.  The dip through the freezing pond certainly helped.  Even though my knee was hurting I was disappointed when it was over. 

After the race we were covered in mud.  We had to take the after pictures and Meaghan and I had to do handstand pictures, which wowed the people waiting in line.  Some people asked us if we were CrossFitters and many totally copped our handstand style.  It's fine though because I was moving on to a turkey leg in my near future.

It was so much fun.  I can't wait to do it again next year.

The backs of our awesomely cut up t-shirts.

Team doo-doo brown.

Post race muddiness:

Post-race turkey legs.

Giant and Midget.

Muddy Kisses.

Our "shower"

How we got mud free for the long drive home.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Unfried Chicken with Cabbage and Apple Slaw

I somehow ended up on a listserv for Self Magazine's recipes a while ago.  Every now and then I open an email and even send one to Eric for dinner ideas.  As I'm not responsible for dinner once a week I search the web weekly for something new to try, not even thinking to look at these weekly emails.  Well, I did look a few weeks ago and this recipe caught my eye.  Probably because of the slaw.  Some of the directions and ingredients weren't overly clear to me so I'll let you know what I did and how I would change it.  Here you go!

Unfried Chicken

Cooking Spray
1 Cup Breadcrumbs (I used panko)
1 Tbs Dijon Mustard (I was low on Gray Poupon (pardon me!), so I mixed it with German Mustard)
1 tsp fresh Parsley, chopped
1 tsp fresh Sage, chopped
1 tsp fresh Thyme, chopped
1 Tbs Old Bay Seasoning (I would probably use a little less next time)
1 Tbs Kosher Salt
1/2 tsp Black Pepper
1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper (I would definitely use a less next time)
1/2 Cup Buttermilk
2 Chicken Breasts

1.  Preheat oven to 400.  Place a roasting or cookie rack on a baking sheet and coat with cooking spray.

2.  Combine breadcrumbs/panko, mustard, parsley, sage, thyme, Old Bay, salt, pepper and cayenne in a shallow bowl.  Pour buttermilk into another shallow bowl.

3.  Dip chicken in buttermilk, turning to coat.  Drain excess and dredge chicken in breadcrumbs, pressing gently to help them adhere and place chicken on rack.

4.  Spray with cooking spray and bake until crispy - about 30 - 35 minutes.

Cabbage and Apple Slaw

2 tsp Honey (make sure you don't use too much!)
2 tsp Whole Grain Mustard (as in mustard seed, now what you put on a sandwhich)
2 Tbs EVOO
1 TBS Apple Cider Vinegar
1 Tbs Balsalmic Vinegar
2 Apples (I used Braeburn b/c I just got them apple picking, the recipe calls for Gala or Red Delicious), cored and thinly sliced.
2 tsp Lemon Juice
6 Cups Napa Cabbage, shredded

1.  Whisk honey with mustard, oil and vinegars in a bowl.

2.  Toss apples with lemon juice in another, large bowl.

3.  Add cabbage to apples and pour dressing.  Toss to coat.

4.  Season as necessary and chill for at least 20 minutes before serving.

  • The recipe was a little spicy for me, but I don't like spice that much.
  • I prefer the flour/egg method of breading chicken and would probably replace that with the buttermilke method next time around.  I just think it makes it stick better.
  • Jess made this and said that she has enough slaw to last until the apocolypse reminding me that I should note that this makes A TON of slaw.
  • Napa cabbage looks like a flower when you cut it towards the end.
  • Yes, that's a pink cutting board.


I have a love/hate relationship with Fall.  I love the colors, I love the food, I love all the fun stuff to do.  I love pumpkins.  I LOVE pumpkin and pumpkin flavored food.  I love decorating for fall.  I love putting up corn stalks and fake birds.  I love carving pumpkins.  love apple picking and making fall type food from the apples I picked.  I love going to various "haunted" locations, forests, harbors, houses...  I love camping, I love campfires and especially S'mores made over a campfire (I'm something of a S'mores expert.  Maybe I'll share my expertise in another post).  I love watching the leaves change and the animals scurry to build their winter fat and food supplies.  I love pumpkin carving parties and Halloween parties and dressing up.  I love Thanksgiving.  I even love menu planning and some of the cooking for Thanksgiving.  I love soaking up the sun for the last time for the year.

I like the crispness that comes to the air.  I even kind of like the changing season meaning it's time to break out the jeans, leggings and boots.

Here's what I hate about Fall:  It means Winter is on it's way.  Winter means being cold.  Winter makes me want to be lazy and hibernate.  Maybe I'll try to find some things to like about winter this year.

What do you love and hate about Fall?


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