Wednesday, September 25, 2013

2013 Fall Bucket List!

The complete 2013 Fall Bucket List!
The bonus ones depend on our crazy wedding schedule, city living, and the weather. We are really hoping it's nice enough to squeeze one more camping trip after our wedding.

Checking "bake an apple pie" off the list!

Apple & Maple Pork Chops!

Due to some overzealous pick your own apple shenanigans we have an overabundance of apples (although the pie did put a nice dent in them). I was flipping through my fall magazines when I saw this gem: Pork Chops with Maple Apples. I had two pork chops, an abundance of apples, and I love maple...what could go wrong? Absolutely nothing!

This recipe was divine. The sweetness of the apples with the onions and pork was amazing. While I was cooking I panicked that one pork chop wasn't going to be enough for the manly Mr. Lawyer so I threw a couple of frozen hash browns into another pan. In my wedding addled brain (we were yelling back and forth about tux pick ups over the sizzling of the pans) I rationalized "pork and potatoes, latkes and applesauce, soooo apple pork chops and hashbrowns!". It was completely random but totally delicious. This is definitely a make again recipe. It was so good that I started eating it before I got a decent picture.
A weird but delicious combination!
I swear there are pork chops under the apples!
Sizzling away.
Pork Chops with Maple Apples
(adapted from Better Homes & Gardens Magazine)
2 boneless pork chops, 3/4" inches
Salt and ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 apple, cored and thinly sliced
1/2 small red onion, cut into thin wedges
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup apple juice
1/3 cup light whipping cream
2 tablespoon pure maple syrup
2 teaspoons snipped fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
1. Trim excess fat from chops. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. In a 12-inch nonstick skillet heat oil over medium-high heat. Add pork chops. Cook for 8 to 12 minutes, turning once halfway through cooking. Remove from skillet. Cover with foil. Let stand 3 minutes.
2. Add apples, onion, and garlic to skillet. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
3. Add apple juice. Cook about 4 minutes more or until most liquid has evaporated and apples are crisp-tender. Put pork chops back in pan with apple mixture. 
4. Stir together whipping cream, maple syrup, and thyme. Pour over pork and apples in skillet. Cook and stir 1 to 2 minutes or until heated through and sauce starts to thicken. 
5. Remove from heat and serve!

Apple Pie Time!

Yaaaaaay Fall! I made an official "Fall Bucket List" for Mr. Lawyer and I to complete. I have always had an unofficial one that included the basics: pick apples at Beak & Skiff, eat the apples, drink lots of cider, consume some cider donuts, eat Grandma's apple pie with cheddar cheese. Beak & Skiff is this wonderful family owned orchard (since 1911!) in LaFayette, NY (just outside Syracuse). I have wonderful memories of going there almost every year with my grandparents. Grandpa Bruce and I would always split a hot dog and look at the beehive (you can see inside it!) while Grandma Nancy got her apples for pie. When I started going to school at SU I introduced my Beak & Skiff tradition to Mr. Lawyer and our friends.

This is one of my favorite pictures from the 1st trip. Nyk was pointing out the specific apples she wanted and Mr. Lawyer obliged. I think she wore footwear that wasn't conducive to ladder climbing. Beak & Skiff has some wonderful old and gnarly apple trees that are huge.
Mr. Lawyer knew that I missed this tradition and decided to surprise me with a trip to a New Jersey Orchard! Now I'm partial to my B&S but this orchard was very kid friendly and had a pumpkin patch! The trees seemed very young in comparison to what I am use to but the apples were still delicious. 
He's always in the trees doing the heavy lifting!
See what I mean about the little trees though? No ladder needed.
We managed to get quite the jump on our Fall Bucket List, including making an apple pie (bonus: with apples you picked yourself!). 
Confession: this is the first apple pie I've ever made. I mostly just eat Grandma's pie. 
A word about eating apple pie: It is essential that you eat the pie with sharp cheddar cheese. Mr. Lawyer asked me what the cheese was for when I pulled it out of the fridge. Adorable. I guess it's a NY/New England thing. It's delicious. Have a bite of pie, have a bite of cheese. Heaven.

I have this really cute kitchen towel that tells you how to make apple pie. It made the perfect backdrop.
Cheese time!
It's not Grandma's pie but it was pretty delicious for a first attempt.
Apple Pie
1 pastry recipe for a 9 inch double crust (I used pre-made crusts)
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon allspice
4 to 8 Granny Smith apples depending on size- peeled, cored, and sliced
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt the butter in a saucepan. Stir in flour to form a paste. Add water, white sugar and brown sugar, and bring to a boil. Reduce temperature and let simmer. Add the spices and mix well.
2. Place the bottom crust in your pan. Toss apples in liquid and then place apples and most of the liquid into the pie pan. Cover with a top crust. Pour any remaining sugar and butter liquid over the crust.
3. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes until apples are soft.

Chicken & Barley Chili

It's chilly outside! This makes me very excited. Fall is probably my favorite overall season. Fall means it is SOUP AND CHILI SEASON! I had a random bag of barley that the Mother Unit had given me so this recipe was perfect. Overall it is very similar to the Chicken Taco Chili I made last year. The main difference is subbing the barley for some beans. I really enjoyed the addition of the barley. It was a little more labor intensive to cook the chicken separately instead of throwing it all in the crock pot like the Chicken Taco Chili but that's not a deal breaker. This chili is very filling and yummy. It was a hit with the boy. I'm really sad that it is all gone.
I served it up with Cabot Cheddar of course.
Chicken & Barley Chili
(Pinterest find!
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (16-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup medium barley
4 cups water
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
dash cayenne pepper (more or less to taste)
2-3 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds), cut into bite-size pieces
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 cups frozen corn kernels
Garnishes: shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, sliced green onions, tortilla chips
1. In a large pot , combine the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, chicken broth, barley, water, chili powder, cumin, dried oregano and cayenne. Stir well. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat and add the chicken. Stir to combine. 
2. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer the chili for 40 minutes, until the barley is tender and chewy and the chicken is no longer pink. Stir occasionally, while it simmers to prevent sticking and to make sure it stays at a steady simmer. 
3. After 40 minutes, add the beans and corn. Stir to combine and simmer for five more minutes. Serve the chili with optional garnishes.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


Uninspired Dinner Night
Lemon-Pepper Tilapia Tacos 
with Sriracha Mayo and Broccoli Slaw

That is all.

Sunday, September 22, 2013


The first time I ever had edamame (immature soybeans in the pod) was with Melissa. We picked it at a local community garden and then steamed it up. I'm not sure what I like about it: the flavor, the salt, or having to work for it! Our local watering hole, The Kite & Key, serves up some delicious steamed edamame. After Mr. Lawyer and I popped into city hall to get our marriage license we stopped at The Kite for dinner and a celebratory pint. We started with some Ommegang Hennepin (Ommegang after important paperwork? It was meant to be! I love it went I can get a taste of home) and ended with some pumpkin beer. Mr. Lawyer went with a sandwich and I went with edamame....A pint and some edamame for dinner, happy wedding!
Steamed Edamame 
Edamame, desired amount
1. Steam edamame until done.
2. Sprinkle with salt and enjoy!


I almost didn't post this recipe because I was so disappointed in it. However Mr. Lawyer liked it and ate it all week. I felt that it was lacking something, a little flavor, some pizzazz, just something! So if you have a boy in your life that likes a nice solid dish, nothing fancy, than this recipe is for you! On the plus side I didn't have to cook all week and could eat my steamed edamame so it was a win-win for us (Mr. Lawyer doesn't like it when I just cook veggies for dinner).
All of this! He ate all of it.
Even the peacock soup bowl couldn't make me feel better about it.
Chicken Parmesan Pasta Bake
(Pinterest find! from
1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
6 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups water
1 - 1.5 cups low-sodium chicken broth
12 oz pasta
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and cut into bite-sized pieces
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1. Preheat the oven to 475 F.
2. Set an oven-safe 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil, garlic, oregano, red pepper flakes, and salt and cook just until fragrant, about 1 minute. 
2. Add the diced tomatoes, the water, 1 cup of the chicken broth, and the pasta to the pan, stirring to combine. Bring the mixture to a vigorous simmer, then cover the pan and continue simmering until the pasta is tender, about 16-18 minutes. Stir the pasta frequently as it cooks.
3. Once tender, remove the cover and stir in 3/4 cup of the Parmesan cheese, the pepper, and the chicken. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper if necessary. If the mixture seems dry, mix in as much of the remaining 1/2 cup of chicken broth as needed to loosen it up. Note: if you don't have an oven-safe skillet, transfer the mixture to a baking dish at this point.
4. Sprinkle the top evenly with the mozzarella cheese and the remaining Parmesan cheese. Transfer the pan to the oven and bake for 5-10 minutes, or until the cheese has melted and bubbles around the edges. Garnish with the basil then serve.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Kitchen Blasphemy

My lovely friend Jackie threw a little birthday dinner for Mr. Lawyer the other weekend. Kielbasa and pierogies made an appearance on the Mr. Lawyer-centric menu. She found a pickle cupcake recipe for me to try out. Now I must admit that I was skeptical. While I was making them I felt like I was committing kitchen blasphemy. Pickle cupcakes? So wrong.
I was so sick and stuffy that I couldn't actually taste them but I have it on the authority of three adults and a two year old that they were very good! They decided that "savory muffin" was a better way to describe them than cupcakes. We served them up with some vanilla ice cream.
It's about to get real...
It was certainly a kitchen adventure!
Savory Dill Pickle Muffins 
(A Jackie Find! from the
1 cup flour
3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground dill
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
6 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1/3 cup sour cream
1/3 cup dill pickle juice (the liquid from the pickle jar)
1/3 cup finely chopped dill pickles
1. Whisk flour, baking soda, baking powder, dill, salt, and onion powder in a medium-sized bowl.
2. Beat butter and sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy.
3. Beat in eggs and sour cream until blended.
4. Alternately fold in flour mixture and pickle juice, beginning and ending with the flour.
5. Fold in the chopped pickles.
6. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full.
7. Bake at 350 F for about 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out of the cupcake clean.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Birthday Dinner!

Last week two weeks ago (I've been such a slacker with updates, I have 3 more recipes to type up!) was Mr. Lawyer's 29th birthday! Yikes! On his actual birthday we went our for drinks and then to a nice seafood place in Rittonhouse Square. We got a sidewalk table and were able to people watch while we ate dinner. They had Ommegang! *happy dance*
This inspired me to make a seafood birthday dinner at home on Friday. I went for a light seafood Fra Diavolo. I went with shrimp and scallops because why not? It was served with a side salad and some delicious pesto spiral bread. As for the color scheme....I went with "bright summer colors turning to the more muted colors of fall." Mr. Lawyer just laughed at me.
It was delicious and spicy, a big hit! It made a ton but the leftovers were gone in no time.
Shrimp and Scallop Fra Diavolo
(adapted from
3 tsp extra virgin olive oil
6-7 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1/2 pound raw shrimp, cleaned and deveined
1/2 pound bay scallops
1/4 cup celery
1/2 cup chopped onion
35 oz crushed tomatoes
1 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
8 fresh basil leaves, rolled and sliced thin
Parmesan cheese
Desired amount of pasta
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta according to directions.
2. Heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir in the garlic and cook until golden. Add in the shrimp and cook 2 to 3 minutes until barely cooked. Transfer shrimp to a plate, leaving garlic in the pan, and repeat the process with the bay scallops.
3. Once all the seafood is removed from the pan add the remaining teaspoon of olive oil with the celery and onions, cook for 2 minutes and then add the crushed tomatoes and red pepper. Bring to a simmer.
4. Lower the heat and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes. Add the seafood and cook for 2 more minutes. Remove from heat and serve over pasta, top with fresh basil and parmesan cheese.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Pimm's No. 1

Pimm's No. 1 is a secret combination of dry gin, liqueur, fruit juices, and spices. It's different but in a good way. If you top Pimm's No. 1 off with ginger ale or lemon-lime soda you get a Pimm's Cup, the official drink of Wimbledon! It has a herbaceous-cola flavor. Mr. Lawyer and I both enjoyed it.
His & her glasses
Round Ice, Square Glass.
Pimm's Cup
(Canal House Cooking)
2 ounces Pimm's No.1
Ginger ale
Cucumber spear or lime wedge for garnish
1. Fill your glass with ice and add 2 ounces of Pimm's No. 1
2. Top off your glass with ginger ale and garnish with cucumber or lime.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Taco Taco!

Taco Lettuce Wraps!
It's a clean out the fridge type night.
yum yum.