Grape Jelly

Concord Grape Jelly is not anything I ever gave much thought too.  If you needed or wanted grape jelly you just went to the store and bought some right?  Well, after making this, my mind has been forever changed about that.  I don’t know that I can ever eat grape jelly from the store again.  I tried to eat some that I had in the refrigerator to see if I could actually tell a difference.  Let me tell you, they difference is undeniable.

One of my neighbors, and occasional reader of the blog – Hi Rick! – has been growing Concord grapes in his backyard for a few years.  This is the first year there were enough grapes for the birds and for jelly.

Having never seen or eaten a Concord grape, I was a little taken aback by the texture.  It tasted just like grape jelly, but the skins are tough and you need to pop the insides into your mouth.  The texture is kind of rubbery, but slippery.  I have never eaten a raw oyster, but this is what I suspect a small raw oyster might feel like in your mouth if you tried to chew it instead of swallow it.

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Peach Crumble

Peach Crumble is a recipe I saw on the local news when they were doing one of their featured recipe clips.  You know the ones I am talking about, every TV station seems to have one of those.  I usually don’t watch a whole lot of TV.  It tends to be running in the background though when others are in the house.

I have been so focused on fall recipes that it seems I have forgotten it is actually the end of summer.  Porter peaches are a pretty big deal around these parts.  I managed to miss that whole season and did not get one single Porter peach this year.  Shame too, they are actually really good!

Luckily, this recipe uses frozen peaches.  It also uses oats, and if you have read my apple crisp post, you know oats are not one of the things I like in my desserts. But, Andy did like it.  Said it reminded him of granola.  He likes that kind of thing.

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Pina Colada Pie

Pina Colada Pie is in the regular dessert rotation at my house.  It is a newer recipe and not one that I have lugged around for years or anything.

It actually turned up in my life through a Facebook post of a friend who had found a recipe online and had posted to her timeline for someone to make it for her.  Whew, that was a long run-on sentence.

Being who I am, I bought the stuff for it during my next trip to the grocery store.  As time went on, I forgot about the recipe.  I stumbled over the cream of coconut in the pantry and remembered why I had it and why it was sitting on top of a package of a package of store bought cookies.

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Quick Yeast Rolls

Quick Yeast Rolls have a husband approved stamp in the recipe folder.  It does not happen often, but when he likes a recipe he will mark a rating on it with a date.  This one carries large letters that read VERY GOOD!  This particular one is from quite a few years ago.  Since then I have seen it pop up on Pinterest and several other recipe sites.

Since I am kind of lax at following rules and dislike kneading yeast dough, I usually turn to my quick rustic bread recipe or use the bread machine.  Using the bread machine requires me to disassemble the bowl to clean before and after use.  More kitchen cleanup is not on my list of favorite things.

But quick yeast rolls require no hand kneading, no bread machine, and does not require a whole lot of pre-thought.  Another one of my many faults, failure to plan early enough in a day to do things.  These can be on the table in less than an hour.  Perfect for me today, since I got preoccupied getting my chicken into a pot for chicken and dumplings.

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Beef Tips and Mushrooms

Growing up, my mom made a version of beef tips that I always thought was kind of flavorless and tough.  But this meant she would making rice.  She hated rice and rarely made it.   If rice so much as touched her plate, she was done eating.  Imagine going out to a Japanese steak house with that……….

When I first made this myself, I immediately added beef base to the recipe.  It definitely gave it some added flavor, but it was still quite tough.

Since this was one of the first recipes I ever attempted on my own as a young cook in my own kitchen, I have had many years of perfecting this recipe for my tastes.

Mushrooms and onions have joined the party over the years, and green peppers made an appearance for some years.  If you like green peppers, feel free to add some during the last few minutes of cooking.

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Beef Stew

Slow Cooker Beef Stew is one of my absolute favorite meals to cook when the weather turns cooler.  It is easy to put together and the smell coming from the kitchen reminds you there is going to be something yummy served up.

Beef stew is fairly adaptable too.  I stick with the traditional potatoes, carrots, and peas because that’s what I like.  Sweet potatoes, parsnips, rutabagas or any other sturdy vegetable could be added.

I do not use any tomato base in mine, but feel free to add it.  I prefer the pure beef flavor that shines through without it.

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Fried Butterfly Shrimp

Fried Butterfly Shrimp are not difficult to make at home.  I usually start with frozen shrimp I have thawed.  The only drawback to making them is that they are time consuming to make.  And they are only time consuming because shrimp are small.  Even large shrimp requires you to repeat these steps at least 6 times per person if you are serving this for dinner.  Since I tend to buy them frozen, it allows me to buy larger shrimp when I find them on sale.

You could probably get away with 2 or 3 smaller shrimps as an appetizer, but if you are going to go to all the trouble, do you really want to mess up the kitchen for a few shrimp?  Go ahead and coat all of the shrimp and freeze them before cooking.

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Egg Bagel Sandwich

Egg Bagels with Canadian bacon and cheese makes frequent appearances for dinner on the nights we need something quick.

I started making these because before McDonalds started serving breakfast all day, you could only get a breakfast sandwich before 10:30 am.  Sometimes I want breakfast food for supper.  Pancakes, bacon and eggs, omelets, and even waffles sometimes

This really isn’t even a recipe, it’s more like an explanation of how to put simple ingredients together and make a quick meal.  It’s like a sandwich, but makes you feel like you actually cooked.

Egg Bagels are easy enough to make that you can ditch the frozen variety.  If you want a frozen breakfast sandwich, why not just make your own and freeze them.  I would wait to add the cheese until the Canadian bacon and egg were completely cool.  I would also skip the microwave step until the day I was ready to eat it.

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Rustic Crusty Bread

This recipe for Rustic Crusty Bread is my go-to bread recipe whenever I have a hankering for warm bread.  I love bread!  I’ll eat it from anywhere, even a factory.  I’m not embarrassed either.  Sometimes all you need in life is a peanut butter and jelly or bologna sandwich using super soft white bread.  The kind that sticks to your teeth with no nutritional value whatsoever.

But, homemade bread, warm from the oven, slathered in butter takes the cake in my book.  Rustic Crusty Bread is also really good when toasted.  I find that I usually need to run through my toaster cycle twice though.

This recipe is easy to make.  It requires no kneading, no fancy mixers, and is pretty darn hard to screw up.  Trust me, I have yet to totally fail with this method.  I may have struggled getting it shaped and dropped into my pan when I first started making this.  Don’t worry if you struggle too, even if it’s ugly, it’s delicious.  You will get better with it the more you practice and eventually it will be no big deal to whip up a quick loaf of bread.

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No-fail Fruit Cobbler

We rarely had dessert growing up unless it was a special occasion or Sunday lunch. However, I do remember occasionally, on a random Saturday night, my mom would whip up this cobbler as a treat. It was always a very welcomed surprise.

This cobbler is truly, endlessly versatile. You can use any fruit, it can be made any size, and you can customize it any way you want.

The fruit can be canned, frozen, or fresh. My sister-in-law even made one with a can of pie filling and said the results were tasty. My family’s preference has always been a can of fruit cocktail or peaches. Ron and I have done some experimenting and our new favorite is frozen blackberries, often with extra sugar sprinkled on top of the cobbler right before it goes in the oven for some extra crunch.

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