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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Recipe Round Up: Fresh Peach Upside Down Cake & Slow Cooker Sausage and Peppers

I have no menu plan and no yarn along this week. It's been a rough week. Don't ask. Please pray, though. We're still eating, though. These are some recipes I have meant to post for a while, and I was already working on this post, so enjoy!

This is from a session making these cakes more than five years ago. Before Rich replaced our counters.

Fresh Peach Upside Down Cake

One of the most wonderful summer cakes there are. I combined a few recipes from Fine Cooking to come up with this.

3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter

3 large peaches, scalded, peeled and sliced

2 cups cake flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2/3 cup buttermilk

Heat oven to 350 F and lightly butter the sides of a large round cake pan (I used a stone pan that was at least 9" across and 2" high).

Make caramel: In a small saucepan, combine the brown sugar and butter. Cook over medium heat, stirring often until the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth. Bring to a boil and pour into the prepared pan. Spread with a spatula to coat the bottom evenly. Arrange peach slices evenly in the caramel, overlapping them slightly, if

Make cake: Sift together the cake flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, beat the butter until smooth (I used the Kitchen Aid). Gradually add the sugar and continue beating until fluffy and lighter in color. Beat in the vanilla. Add the eggs one at a time, beating briefly after each addition.

Beginning and ending with the flour mixture, add the flour alternately with the buttermilk.

Scoop large spoonfuls of batter onto the fruit; gently spread the batter evenly in the pan. Lightly tap the pan on the counter to settle the batter. Bake until the cake is golden brown and a pick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes.

Immediately run a paring knife around the inside edge of the pan. Set a flat serving plate on top of the pan and invert the cake. Let the inverted pan rest for about 5 minutes to let the topping settle. Gently remove the pan and serve the cake warm or at room temperature.

Slow Cooker Sausage and Peppers

olive oil
12 Italian sausages in casings (either hot or sweet or a mix)
1 pound bell peppers, seeded and sliced (frozen works, too)
2 - 4 hot or frying peppers (like Anaheims or Italian frying peppers, optional), seeded and sliced
4 onions, peeled and sliced
10 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 - 4 pints tomato sauce of your choice

Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a large frying pan over medium high heat and brown sausage on all sides, add onions, peppers, and saute until the onions and peppers are soft. Add garlic and stir for a minute or two.

Scrape all of this into your slow cooker, sprinkle with oregano and salt. Pour in tomato sauce and rinse out the jars/cans with about half the water as there was sauce in them, and pour that over the sausages and peppers. Cover and cook on low for 4 - 6 hours.

In the last half hour, I heat up salted water, cook the pasta and cut up the sausage into bite sized bits. We toss a salad and serve. Easy peasy.

Sausages and peppers in the crock before the sauce is added. We didn't have any red peppers this time. This is enough for our family. You may wish to cut it in half. Or make the whole amount and freeze part of it for another meal.

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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Yarn Along: Deja Vu

Can you even see any progress on Nejat's blanket? I promise that there is some, but it may be hard to tell. There are only five more rounds (stars?) to go before I am finished with the crocheting. Then it will have to be finished, ends woven in and cloud border sewn down and so on, before I can give it to Nejat. Basically, though, I'm only a little past where I was last week.

Oh! I forgot to mention something again this week. I finally joined the rest of the interwebs on Instagram. You can find me there @arabianknits, if you want to follow me.

Likewise, I am still reading An Everlasting Meal. This is a book I would like to own. It will go on my wishlist. It reads like Laurie Colwin's Home Cooking and More Home Cooking, which I love, without the same level of political narcissism, which I hate. At least so far. I haven't finished it yet, of course. This is a cookbook, a memoir, and a novel, all in one.

Also posting to Keep Calm and Craft On and Yarn Fanatic.

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Sunday, September 18, 2016

Menu Plan: September 18 - 24

Rich and I have visited an Anglican church in our area a couple times. Since we have no parish of our own here, we have largely been attending a Catholic church. We were told about an Anglican church that meets in the afternoon and has dinner together after the liturgy. So, we went to see. We went once when there was a baptism and once and a more normal service, and this week we brought our children. We've basically decided to go to the Catholic church for mass in the morning, and to the Anglican church in the afternoon, like some people have morning and evening services. The real bonus is that our family, all of our family, can commune at the Anglican church. It's still not quite home, but it makes it more home like.

This week is our real week of school and work. Alexander is back to college this week, and we are back to full time school and outside activities and our co-op begins again. Rich is getting ready for some important things at work, and could use some prayer. Last week was rough on us. Nobody was sick or had any allergic reactions, but we had a nasty surprise that we're all still having to deal with now. It's been emotionally and mentally exhausting. I'm trying to plan easy meals and make enough that we can eat leftovers more often.

What is on your menu this week? If you want a recipe, ask and I will provide it as soon as I can. If there are any starred recipes, I will follow up separately with a weekly recipe round up.

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Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Menu Along: Hit by a Mack Truck

It's been a while since I've shown any progress on Nejat's blanket, but I'm so close to finished with it. I really hope I can get the crocheting complete by this weekend. Maybe, just maybe, I can get to all the finishing I need to do (like on my top, and the second mitt, as well as sewing down cloud borders and weaving in ends on this blanket). Nejat loves her blanket. She doesn't care that it was supposed to be finished for her birthday. Last year. She comes up to it and rubs her little face on it, and tells me how soft it is. I can't wait to have it finished, because I just want to be done with it, but I also can't wait to give it to her for her to enjoy.

I forgot to give the update on Marine Layer. It was supposed to be published in October, but the magazine has gone monthly in order to spread out the patterns so they get more attention. So, instead, the set will be published in November.

What am I reading? I finished The Stitching Hour, and started An Everlasting Meal, which, so far, I am enjoying.

Also posting to Keep Calm and Craft On and Yarn Fanatic.

Our school schedule hit me like a truck on a dark highway. We've been going full tilt, and I'm not getting as much done as I'd like. I try to have my menu plans at least started, so I can just finish them off by Saturday, but I had nothing. With Alexander at home all day, too, I've been trying to cram as much in while he has full time school at home, before he switches to part time at home and full time at the college.

Dominic had planned on doing two courses with the public school here, but after trying it out for the summer, he decided it wasn't rigorous enough. It was fun, and he learned things in the class, but it didn't seem as challenging to him as he wanted. Since it was something he loves, we agreed with him that focusing on the core of our curricula, and getting him to where he needs to be with his own writing and mathematical skills would be a better use of his time, since he could take on an apprenticeship or learn from someone else or take college courses for the film and media aspect of what he'd like to do. In the interim, he wanted his education to be more well balanced and full. So, that's what I'm working on with him.

Ballet and co-op, meetings and all the normal bustle of life are also coming at us pretty rapidly, and we have Nutcracker to think about in less than two months. Bleh. I love them doing the Nutcracker, I just hate that it eats up our Thanksgiving weekend with dress rehearsals and performances. I was hoping that wouldn't be repeated this year. Not only all of this, but Thursday, Mariam came down with an awful case of hives from a reaction of some sort, which resulted in two nights in a row of us being up just about all night, and watching cartoons with her to keep her distracted from the pain and itching that was literally making her shake from the pain. She is doing much better now, but it was so hard for her, and so hard for us to watch and try to help. We still have no idea what triggered it. Fortunately, Rich had the sense not to do the work on our barn roof the Saturday after all of this, I canceled a trip I was going to take with a friend, and he had a BFR canceled, which was probably the safest thing for everyone.

Anyway, here is my menu along with my yarn along. Since we have about a million peaches, and keep getting more, we are eating a ton of them. We have at least one major repeat of a meal this week. Speaking of peaches, I still owe you all the peach upside down cake recipe. I'll try for this week if nobody gets hurt or sick or stays awake all night, two nights in a row.

What is on your menu this week? If you want a recipe, ask and I will provide it as soon as I can. If there are any starred recipes, I will follow up separately with a weekly recipe round up.

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Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Menu Along: I Tried Not to Do This

I had the opportunity to get a lot more knitting and crocheting done this past couple weeks. Rich had a conference in Montana, and aside from the long drive there and back, while he was busy with meetings and workshops and class sessions, I had a lovely hotel room in which to watch food tv and work on projects. And an even lovelier outdoors to sit and knit. I finally finished the knitting on the ballerina top, made quite a bit of progress on Nejat's blanket, and finished another mitt. I still have to weave in ends and block, and I still don't like the top that well. Once I've gotten all the finishing done, I'll try it on and see if it seems any better to me. My plan at the moment is still to send it off to someone else so I don't have to look at it any more.

Since we were on the road, I checked to see if there were any yarn shops around so I could get souvenirs. We stayed at a resort, and there wasn't anything there, but on our last day of the trip, we hit two yarn shops in Bozeman. They were very different from each other, but both had lovely yarn. I have to admit that I found the Yarn Scout more friendly and welcoming, though it was neat to find bison fiber and yarn at Stix. I completely spaced that I have a good friend who spins, so I didn't pick up any fiber for her, which I wish I had.

At Yarn Scout, I found some HiKoo SimpliCria, which I've been wanting to try for myself, and when I said that, the shop owner told me she had just opened the box of new colors and asked if I wanted to look through them. We all know the answer to that, and though there were a couple colors that interested me, I settled on this orchid, and bought a whole bag. Rich talked me into it. I tried to tell myself that getting four to six skeins would be enough, and he said that I might as well get it all, and save us all the sadness and trouble of me wishing I'd bought the rest after we'd returned home. It is chained and composed of baby alpaca like Rowan's discontinued Lima, but it comes at a lower per yard cost and is softer, in my opinion. I have enough to make a short sleeved sweater, which will be perfect for fall and early spring, or under a coat in the winter. It's a little too warm a fiber to make a long sleeved sweater out of, I think, as in sweater weather, I spend as much time indoors as possible.

There was also the mug above. I have been wanting one of those for a while, and they are for sale on etsy, but since it is hand made pottery, it is pricey, and with shipping, I'd held back. There was no shipping to pay in the store, and there is no sales tax in Montana, either, so Rich told me I'd better pick it up, and then helped me find the best blue there.

Since I like to get souvenir yarn that has a tie to the place we visit, I looked for special colorways, or locally dyed or raised or spun yarns. At Yarn Scout, I found some locally raised and spun yarn, I picked up a generous hank of charcoal alpaca, and several dyed for the shop colors. At Stix, there was the bison fiber and yarn. I bought a skein of a bison and merino blend to make a hat or something small like that, as well as the gradient from a local yarn company, Western Sky Knits. I can't tell what exact colorway it is, as it was unmarked. It was so lovely, though, that I had to pick it up. I can see a triangular or semi-circular shawl coming from this yarn.

Rich and I read one more section of Theology of the Body in Simple Language before we left on our trip. I finished two books The Suspicion at Sanditon, and Mudhouse Sabbath. I don't know if it is because _Sanditon_ wasn't complete, but somehow the tone of this mystery seemed more jarring than her others. It read more modern than Regency. Her other novels seemed to keep the tension between not sounding stilted and affected and not sounding out of period better. I noticed the modernity in this one, while the others were smoother, so I was constantly aware that I was a modern person reading people who didn't quite sound like they ought. The story itself was fun and enjoyable. Also, it turns out that I have read _Mudhouse Sabbath_ before. I had just forgotten. I think Lauren Winner might find a lot of what she missed of orthopraxy in Orthodox Christianity, or at least Eastern Catholicism.

Also posting to Keep Calm and Craft On and Yarn Fanatic.

This week began with a teen movie night at our house. We returned from our trip Saturday night, and the kids helped us get everything ready for their party. Rich and the boys turned the back yard into a movie viewing area, with a bigger television and the dvd player out there, hooked up to the big stereo speakers. They strung up lights on the back porch, around the disco ball (what? You don't have one hanging outside your house?), and in the maple tree. They set up chairs, a section of the kids' couch, a mat with a mattress on it and a couple tables for the food and drink. We watched the new Jungle Book, or rather, they did, and Rich and I saw part of it as we went back and forth between the party and our younger kids, who were inside watching a cartoon movie. Including our oldest four, we had 20 teens/pre-teens at the house, and we still had two pizzas left over when it was all said and done. After the movie, Alexander put on a play list of music for everyone to dance, and Rich set up a fire pit, and all had a great time. Since it was Sunday evening, we had the holiday on Monday to rest a bit after our late night.

This was kind of our kick off for school. Amira's name day was on Monday, and we had our neighbors over to grill our goodbye to summer. Today, we began school in earnest, and it went pretty well. Ballet started up again this week, so we're back to weird dinner times and shuffling menus until we figure out a plan that works for all of us. Because of the new dance schedule, Rich is going to be in charge of the making, or at least starting, of dinners on most Fridays, so I'm trying to make those easier meals, with recipes linked here for him.

What is on your menu this week? If you want a recipe, ask and I will provide it as soon as I can. If there are any starred recipes, I will follow up separately with a weekly recipe round up.

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