Fall, it’s so great to see you again…

How else to start a fall season perfectly than by going to an apple orchard?? After church Liz and Keith told us they were heading up there to get apples so she can make an apple pie. We decided to bust in on their fun and go with them.

It was a phenomenal day. Everyday should be this apple pickin good.

 

There is nothing better than picking your own apples, eating fresh made apple cinnamon, and pumpkin doughnuts, and drinking ice cold apple cider. All on a chilled day with with sunshine and friends :) Aaahhh. I can hear the commercial being made as we speak…

I promise I haven’t forgotten about you all! The Chef’s schedule has been a wee bit hectic, which means I’m on double duty with all the other work (plus watching the kid). I will be blogging about food again soon!!

-The Everyday Chef and Wife-

Easy Homemade Peach Compote and Cream

Homemade Peach Compote with Cream

The summer has almost faded. I’m slightly torn with how I feel about it. On the one hand, the summer gives us yummy fruits, sunny beach days, warm nights for bonfires and stargazing, fresh garden treats and soooo much more.

But the fall gives us pumpkin flavored everything, spices, cozy nights, fuzzy socks and big sweaters, game nights by the fireplace, the ability to actually want to cuddle instead of pushing your significant other away for fear of suffocating heat.

I loooove fall. But more on that later.

Let’s make the most of summer while we can. Wring out the warmth and goodness for as long as we have it.

So confession. I have this problem about not using up the last of things. Especially fruit. It always seems to go bad before I can use it. I have all these great ideas that I want to use them for, and then poof. Fruit fly heaven. But this time, this time I was determined to use the last of these darn peaches for something. Then it hit me. Peach compote.

I have realized the amazingness of making my own jams and jellies. Compotes included. You have any fruit that needs to be used up? Just throw it in a pot with some sugar and water and maybe a bit of lemon juice and you’re golden. It’s pretty soothing.

Anyways, my three peaches needed to be used pronto. I saw the fruit flies circling it like vultures. For this compote I used:

Said three peaches, peeled and cut into chunks
3 Tbsp of sugar (you can choose to do more or less. Sweetness is to taste)
1/2 cup of water
1-2 tsp corn starch (mixed with a tiny bit of cold water to dissolve)
The juice of one small lemon (or half of a large one).

Cook on medium-high heat for 15-20 min. Let cool a bit before serving. Take cold cream (heavy or half & half) and pour over top. Serve and enjoy!

Make sure you taste the compote to be sure it’s to your liking. The lemon gives it a slight tanginess, but it’s more for depth of flavor. I found that it definitely needed it. Without it, it didn’t have enough flavor.

Use up those fruits! Take advantage of summer! But please God, let fall be close by!! My sweaters are calling my name.Homemade Peach Compote with Cream

-The Wife-

A photographic day in the life of The Everyday Chef and Wife

Wondering what we do when we’re not cooking? Well I won’t photograph us doing paperwork, blogging or house work because that would be about the most boring post on the planet. But I will show you the slightly more exciting side.

I did say slightly right?……….

A couple little friends we found near and in the garden

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Fall leaf

The signs that fall is near!!

Homegrown pumpkins

My favorite thing to grow: Pumpkins! It reminds me of what is around the corner. Can you tell what my favorite season is?

Breakfast- Tea and Mini Carrot cake

My breakfast of tea and mini carrot bundt cake. It’s healthy right? It’s got carrots in it! ;)

Roasted tomatoes. There should be no other way to eat tomatoes...

Roasted tomatoes. There should be no other way to eat tomatoes…

Roasted Tomatoes

Homemade Mac and Cheese with Roasted Tomatoes. One of my favorites!!

Homemade Mac and Cheese with Roasted Tomatoes. One of my favorites!!

Thanks for spending time with us today!

-The Wife-

 

 

Quinoa Risotto Taco Salad

Quinoa Risotto Tace Salad-Vegan and Gluten Free

I feel like quinoa has shot up over the past few years. Growing up I never heard it muttered, and now everywhere you look quinoa is taking center stage. It’s awesome actually because not only is it yummy to the thousandth degree, but the healthy benefits are crazy good for you. That’s a win-win-win in my book.

michael-scott-win-win-win

The Chef inspired me to not only make quinoa, but to cook it as you would a risotto. I for one have never made risotto, but I’ve seen him make it multiple times. I was inspired! I grabbed my economy sized bag of quinoa and ran! If this was going to taste anything like ground beef, I was for it. Any excuse I have to use a ground beef substitute, I’m for it. I have not taken the role of a vegetarian, but meat is definitely not my favorite food. (Except burgers…. I looove me some burgers!!)

Dice a medium sized onion and place it in a large skillet drizzled slightly with oil. Cook over medium high heat until onion start to caramelize. Quinoa Risotto Tace Salad-Vegan and Gluten FreeAdd in 1 cup of uncooked quinoa. Toast slightly. This creates another flavor profile, ever so slightly to the quinoa.

Add in a cup or two of vegetable stock. (You can use any stock you prefer, but if you’re doing quinoa, you might as well keep it legit vegetarian right?) The stock is going to cook into the quinoa, as well as evaporate out, so we will be using about 6-7 cups of stock. (As a cheat, you can use a couple cups of water if need be. But you should use mostly stock. We threw in some plain ‘ol water and it didn’t diminish the flavor.)Quinoa Risotto Tace Salad-Vegan and Gluten Free Once the quinoa soaks up the majority of the stock, add in more until fully cooked.Quinoa Risotto Tace Salad-Vegan and Gluten Free To test, get a spoon a try it out. It should be al dente. Not too crunchy, but still a touch of firmness. This will take close to 35 minutes or longer.Quinoa Risotto Tace Salad-Vegan and Gluten Free

Once the quinoa if cooked, add in your spices. For taco seasoning use:

2 Tbsp cumin
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp chili powder
A couple shakes of paprika
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

* This is all to taste. You can add more or less if you’d like to fit your taste buds.

The hard part is over! You have quinoa risotto taco “meat”. Sprinkle on some drained and rinsed black beans, avocado, tomatoes, cheese (if you prefer or you can go vegan and omit it completely), and whatever other taco toppings you like! It’s that easy folks. Quinoa Risotto Tace Salad-Vegan and Gluten Free

Next we are going to try this in some tortilla shells! I. Can’t. Wait.

Sounds like something you’d try? Test it out and let us know what you think!

-The Wife-

 

Our Day in the Sun

Holy relaxing day batman!

My (The Wife’s) family was getting together over at my moms first cousins house over on Lake Angelus, MI. The Chef and I were super excited because we were going to see family we hadn’t seen since Christmas, including my moms cousin who sent me an amazing cookbook featuring recipes from the refugee women who fled from different cultures to America. The pictures are gorgeous and the recipes are authentic and look incredible. I have been biting at the bullet to try out some of the dishes. I think that will be my fall project.

I was really excited to be able to chat more with Rosalie (said cousin) and spend time at her place. I have the best memories there. It is the coziest lake house/cabin that I have ever stepped foot in. It is filled with antiques past down from generations. It’s surrounded by trees, but has huge yard for Eli (our pooch) and The Child to run around with the picturesque Lake Angelus at the bottom of the knoll. I could not wait to get my relaxation on!

Sunday night the other family members left and we had already planned to spend the night. Miah and Rosalie spent the evening reading books on the four season porch and The Chef and I cleaned up from the day. Rosalie insisted that we shouldn’t and was saying how many dishes we did and I explained that the amount was a fraction of the dishes that we created in a single day (with only three people) when The Chef is cooking…

The next morning we woke up and immediately went down to the lake. Rosalie made a pot of tea and English muffins with homemade strawberry jam her daughter had made. The weather was perfection so we ate outside. The rest of the day was spent down at the lake soaking up rays, playing in the water, eating grilled cheese with avocado, getting a family history from Aunt Mimi, who stopped by, and Rosalie, and soaking up more sun.

It was heaven.

Our arrival. Isn't this just the cutest house ever??

Our arrival. Isn’t this just the cutest house ever??

Miah was super excited to be here...

Miah was super excited to be here…

Playing in water. We had a break through! He actually started to like it!

Playing in water. We had a break through! He actually started to like it!

Lake Angelus

Early morning riser. Couldn’t wait to get down to the lake!

Mommy and Son. Whenever he sees the camera (or iphone) he says "pictures!" I have a future photographer on my hands... Hashtag proud

Mommy and Son. Whenever he sees the camera (or iphone) he says “pictures!” I have a future photographer on my hands… Hashtag proud

Daddy and Son time. Talking about life and fish.

Daddy and Son time. Talking about life and fish.

Getting our morning tea ready with German rock sugar.

Getting our morning tea ready with German rock sugar.

A perfect breakfast of tea and English muffins with homemade strawberry jam

A perfect breakfast of tea and English muffins with homemade strawberry jam

The front of the house, through trees.

The front of the house, through trees.

I don't think it could look more tranquil if it tried...

I don’t think it could look more tranquil if it tried…

Getting my relaxation on

Getting my relaxation on

My brave boy

My brave boy

Though he is in P.J's, he is fierce!

Though he is in P.J’s, he is fierce!

A water battle about to commence...

A water battle about to commence…

Eli’s tail is droopy from sore muscles caused by full days of swimming. He is still sleeping it off. And we are counting down the days until we can go back.

Thank you Rosalie for such a memorable and relaxing mini vacay! We cannot wait for our return!! Next time we need to get you in some pictures too!

-The Everyday Chef and Wife… And Child… And Dog-

 

Grilled Peaches with Homemade Mascarpone, Honey and Almonds

Grilled Peaches and Mascarpone Cheese

This creation though. Holy smokes.

We first had this up at our friends cabin a couple months ago and we have not been able to stop thinking about it. The flavor of the grilled peaches is out of this world, mixed with the creaminess of the mascarpone just slightly beginning to melt, and the sweetness of the honey and the earthy crunch of the almonds…. Do I sound like a Food Network host yet? It is a perfect summer treat.

Plus, they are an easy ‘wow’ to impress guests (or your stomach) with, that doesn’t take a ton of time or effort. (As long as you have the homemade mascarpone cheese already made.)

Fire up yer grill and lets get cookin’!

No serious, fire up your grill.

Wipe down the grates with an eensie bit of oil to ensure no sticking occurs. Cut the peaches in half, pitting them, and then quarter them (you could technically just half them if you wanted too). The Chef wants to note that when you cut the peach to place them on a cutting board, and with the knife already having punctured it, roll it until a complete circle has been made.

Then taking the peach between your hands, gently twist and pull until the peach comes into two parts. Now you can decide to quarter them or leave them as is.

We decided to quarter them.Peaches

Peaches

Make sure your grill is nice and hot so the grate will leave marks on the peach. Place the peaches on the grill and cook until they have good grill marks. When you go to check them, be careful that they don’t move and you have a weird mosaic of grate marks. Unless you like that kind of thing…

Flip them over, if quartered and repeat. When they are looking awesome, take them off and place them on whatever plate(s) you wish to serve them on. It’s a little tricky to move them after you put the mascarpone on. It turns into a slippery little bugger with the hot peach melting it.

Grilled peaches

If you want to make the mascarpone extra pretty, take two spoons, using one of them to scoop of the cheese. Take the other one and scoop it off of the other spoon, going back and forth, and slowly “rounding out” the cheese. It gives it a cleaner look. It’s up to you. Homemade Mascarpone Cheese

After placing the mascarpone cheese on the peach, drizzle just a little honey over top. Sprinkle with chopped up almonds.

Serve immediately and enjoy!

Is that not the most delicious thing ever? I love that it’s versatile to either be a side or a dessert. Completely satisfying!

Share this with your friends! It’s too good to keep to yourself…

-The Everyday Chef and Wife-

Ice Cream Flavor Contest #2

Ice Cream Flavor Contest

 

We have our new flavors to vote on!! Stephanie Kessler was the winner last time and she has chosen the options for you all to vote on!

Numero Uno: Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake

Numero Dos: Maple Bacon

 

The way to enter is to place a vote in the comments below and share this link with your friends! The voting will be open until 9pm tomorrow. If you follow the directions, you will be entered for the chance to pick the next to flavors to be voted on!

Happy voting! May the odd’s be ever in your flavor :)

-The Everyday Chef and Wife-

Homemade Mascarpone Cheese

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This is The Chef’s baby. He is so stoked about this. I (The Wife) have only had mascarpone cheese maybe twice before he discovered how to make it. That stuff is kind of expensive. Have you ever bought it? It’s like $5-7 for 8 oz. No thanks. The Chef figured out how insanely easy (and cheap) it was and has made about 4 batches in 3 weeks. I’ve had mascarpone cheese coming out of my ears! Someone save me!

But it is delicious and there is so much you can use it for. This post will just be for how you make it, but stayed tuned for some yummy ideas!

I tried it out this time to make sure it was as easy as what he was bragging about. If you know how to read a thermometer, then you’re golden. Grab your whipping cream that I just know you have stock piled in your fridge. Oh you don’t? It’s just our weird family who buys it in multiple half-gallon quantities…

You need:

2 cups of heavy whipping cream. The research that we’ve done has suggested not using ultra-pasteurized, but we used Costco’s organic whipping cream, which I believe is ultra pasteurized, and it worked just fine.
1 Tbsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed
A candy thermometer

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Pour the heavy cream into a medium to large saucepan over medium high heat. Bring the cream to a simmer, being careful not to burn the bottom, until it reads 190˚ F.

Pour in the freshly squeezed lemon juice and stir for 5 minutes, constantly, maintaining the heat at 190˚.

The cream will have thicken enough to coat the back of the spoon. Take off the heat and set the saucepan in a bowl of cold water/ ice water. Let it come to room temperature.

In another large bowl, drape a clean towel, multiple layers of cheese cloth, or what we used, a clean apron, over the bowl. _MG_8228Once the cream has come to room temp, pour onto the cloth etc. and cover the whole bowl with plastic wrap.

Place in a refrigerator, and allow the cream to strain overnight. _MG_8315Once it’s finished straining, work the cheese off of the material and place in an air tight container. You have mascarpone cheese!!

You’ll see cloudy water in the bowl that was drained from the cream. This is the whey. You can throw this out, unless you have some magical use for it. _MG_8319

Since it’s fresh, with no preservatives, it’s best to use the mascarpone cheese within a week. We don’t want any upset tummies. That’s no fun.

Ok, so how easy was that?? Don’t you seriously feel like an artisan cheese maker? I can totally see why The Chef was so excited. I’m more than a little geeked.

Come back to hear what you can do with it now!

-The Everyday Chef and Wife-

 

DIY Grape Jelly

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I will simply state that I will never be too old for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. These are God’s gift to man. In my older years, I have expanded my horizons of jelly’s on my sandwiches. Apple, strawberry, blackberry, etc. but I keep coming back to grape. The guy who created this sandwich got it on the nose. The combo just… works. And those stores that have the free sampling of all the scrumptious jams and jelly’s? I mean, hello! You’ll find me in there pacing back and forth in front of them trying to make it look like I’m making up my mind of which one to buy. No. I’m just hungry and it’s free.

To continue, I have recently become obsessed with making me own jams and jelly’s. If I see fruit that I know we’re not going to eat right away I plop it in a pot and simmer away. It’s so much easier than I originally thought. And boy are they deeeelish!

This one time The Chef had a catering event with fruit trays and I saw how much left over grapes (they were green grapes) he had, I just knew that we wouldn’t be able to go through them all. I’m one of those people that if the grape is just a tad wrinkly, in even the slightest way, it gets discarded. It’s incredibly wasteful, I know, and this habit drives me up the wall. So before that happened, I wanted to get the most use out of them. I quickly looked up references to see if I was on the right track and away I went.

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About 4 cups of green grapes, 1/2 water, and 1 cup of sugar. Bring to a boil and start mashing to extract the juices. Cook and mash for about 10-15 min.

I had about 4 cups (or a little more) of grapes to start out with. I picked them off the stem and through them in a large pot. I added about a 1/4-1/2 water and 1 cup of organic cane sugar (reg granulated works fine too). I turned the heat onto medium high (more on the high) and let it come to a boil. I got out a masher and I started mashing the heck out of them. They have to cook a couple minutes before they really start to mash. I continued cooking and mashing for a good 10-15 minutes. I let the mixture cool a bit. Taking an old, clean, shirt that I had cut up to make a makeshift fine cheesecloth, I poured the cooked, mushed grapes into the shirt that was position over another mesh strainer and a medium size pot. I squeezed, and pushed, and wrung, and used every bit of elbow grease I had in me to get as much juice out of those grapes.

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Don’t have a fine cheese cloth? Use an old CLEAN shirt and use as a makeshift one! Put over a strainer and medium size pot to strain out the grape skins and pulp.

With the juice, now free of grape skins and pulp, I put the pot over high heat and attached my candy thermometer. I waited and waited until finally it reached 219˚. This is what they consider to be optimal jelly making temperature. I personally don’t know what would happen if you achieved a higher temp. Maybe even more coagulation? To me, 219˚ worked relatively well, but it was a tad runny. But the taste was amazing!! I poured it into 2 6-oz sealed containers, so it gave me about 12 -oz total, give or take a few. So at 4 cups of grapes (I’m going to guess that’s a good size bag from the store..) you get 12-oz of homemade vegan grape jelly. No gelatin= 100% vegan!

Note*- You can add as little or as much sugar as you’d like. I read a recipe that used 3 cups of sugar, and to me that seemed a little too sweet. That might also help with the thickness of the jelly as well. But for my first time making actual jelly, I can’t complain, and I will definitely be doing it again!_MG_3492

Sorry Smuckers. This girl is making her own jelly from now on.

Go try it out! Tell us what you think!

-The Wife-

The Chef’s Birthday!!

Happy birthday weekend to the wonderful Chef (and husband ;) ) in my life!! We had such a fun weekend over in his home town, Port Huron, MI. I wanted to go over desperately because they have an annual 27 mile long antique yard sale trail going up the shoreline. Last year I went for the first time and found so many treasures, for such a good price! I had to go this year. The night before I laid in bed just thinking of all the little treasures to be discovered… BY ME!

We found so many great old wooden crates. We are slowing redoing parts of our house and I feel that you can never have too many wooden crates. What would’ve been $25 over in Grand Rapids was now $5 and under. Score!! I found eclectic little paintings and pictures to hang for my growing collages and I even found some Christmas presents that I can’t wait to wrap!! (Shhh I’m not telling who for…)

On The Chef’s birthday we went out for dinner, which seemed like a holiday itself. We ditched the kid and ran! We’re guessing it’s been about 3 months since we went out for dinner, just the two of us… I could be wrong, buuuut it actually felt like a year. We ate on a rooftop patio, lit by globe string lights, and talked about the business. Even when we’re not working, we’re working! We love it so much!!

Family dinners and bonfires are a tradition, and a tradition that always turns into lots of laughter and late night talks around embers. And of course I ate too many s’mores.

You’re killing me Smalls!

And this year Gramps (don’t you just love that name, Chance?) brought out the 4-wheeler that’s been out of commission for 3 years. Us “married-in” girls (Becca, Cathy and I) even took it for a ride, with me at the wheel. I’m sure the neighbors a mile away could hear the screams and giggles.

Darn it girls! We forgot to take a selfie! ;)

Today we went to the beach with the family and tried to get The Kid out into the water. That didn’t go so hot. This kid could look at water all day, but if his toe touches wetness (unless it’s a muddy puddle), goodnight folks! He’s done. He’s not really even a fan of walking on sand. The Chef tried to use some tough love and put him straight in it, which The Kid promptly turned around and walked on The Chef’s feet.

Geez oh Pete’s.

But it was still wonderful.

Father and son
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Birthday dinner date!

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The Kid found a treasure of his own while antiquing… The Magic School Bus be darned!!

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The Kid’s first time 4-wheeling

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All tuckered out

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If you want, leave a Happy Birthday wish for The Chef in the comments below! He would love it :)

Happy birthday, love!! Thank you for such an amazing life that you’re giving us! Love ya!!

-The Wife-