Monthly Archives:

October 2017

New Recipes! Perfect for Fall

Although the weather is still really mild here, it’s still fall!! That calls for delicious, fall comfort foods.

The other day, I was watching Cook’s Country and saw the most delicious barbecue beans recipe. They called it backyard barbecue beans. I knew I had to make it. So when my husband asked me what I wanted for my family birthday dinner, I told him smoked pork and ribs so I’d have a reason to make them!

Backyard Baked Beans
Fall
Photo Credit: Cook’s Country

Don’t they look totally delicious? My family loved it, especially my meat-loving husband. There’s bratwurst in there!

The recipe makes a lot of beans, so unless your have a crowd, you’ll probably want to freeze half. Here is a link to the recipe: Backyard Baked Beans. If you are unable to access this recipe from the link (Cooks Country is a subscription website), shoot me an email and I’ll help you out.

 

Wedge Salad

To go along with the smoked pork and ribs and those yummy baked beans, I made wedge salad. I prefer my wedge with blue cheese dressing and chunks of blue cheese, but we have family members who don’t like blue cheese. So, I subbed in ranch dressing.

Ingredients:

  • 1 head of iceberg lettuce
  • 1/2 cup of ranch of blue cheese dressing
  • 1/2 cup of blue cheese,, crumbled (optional)
  • 1 cup of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup of crisp bacon bits

Directions:

Cut the head of lettuce in half to rinse it. Then, cut into wedges, taking care to keep the wedges together (I swear there must be an easy way to do this). Then either place wedges on a long serving plate like shown above, or on individual salad plates. Cover with dressing, blue cheese crumbles, bacon bits, and cherry tomatoes.

Cheesy Chili Soup
Photo Credit: A Taste of Home

 

This recipe is one of the ultimate comfort soups. I rarely keep Velveeta on hand, but this recipe looked too delicious not to get some. You will probably feel the same!

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 10 oz. can of Rotel diced tomatoes, undrained (I use no-salt added)
  • 15 oz. can of diced tomatoes, undrained (I use no-salt added)
  • 4 oz. can of green chilies, chopped
  • pinch of ground black pepper
  • 1 lb of Velveeta Cheese (I used 2% reduced fat version)
  • Directions
  1. In a medium dutch oven or large saucepan, cook the beef, onions, and garlic; drain once browned. Add tomatoes, chilies, and pepper. Bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce heat, and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Stir in cheese and allow to melt. Garnish with crushed corn chips, cheese, or even bacon bits.
  3. Leftovers can be frozen for up to 3 months.

Recipe adapted from Taste of Home.

Share your favorite fall foods below!

 

 

 

Why I Love October!

In case I’ve never mentioned it, I love October. Maybe it’s because of the beautiful weather here in California during the month. Could it be the way the air smells different? Or how when you go outside at night the air smells of wood burning fireplaces? Oh, and let’s not forget how there are pumpkins everywhere you look!

Honestly, though, the reason I probably love October is that it’s my birth month and I get to celebrate my birthday three weeks into the month. And after that, its Halloween! What a fun month.

It’s a Birthday Celebration!

We celebrated my birthday a day early, on Friday, because one of our daughters would be out-of-town for the weekend. My one year-old granddaughter, Makenna, missed the fun because she was sick. So, she had to stay home with her dad.

October
The boys love singing happy birthday

And then it was time to blow out the candles!

October
They did a great job at blowing out candles!

The cake was delicious, in fact, the leftovers were gone by Sunday.

I’ve been wanting a smaller purse for evenings out, concerts, and travel. I was so excited to get this for my birthday:

October
The Favorite MM

It was a great evening, celebrating with family.

The following night, we went to dinner at Flemings. My favorite meal is a wonderfully cooked steak and that’s what I had.

 

Now that my birthday festivities are over, I am looking forward to Halloween. This weekend we are doing some Halloween decorating outdoors. We just love handing out candy to the trick-or-treaters, and this year I am going to make treat bags for them.

I hope you are having an awesome week! Check back later this week for some new recipes. I will be featuring barbecue baked beans (the best recipe I’ve ever tasted), cheeseburger soup, and wedge salad.

Happy Six-Month Anniversary!

So excited! We are celebrating an anniversary! The Feathered Nester blog is officially six-months old today. First Post! I have had more fun with the blog than I ever imagined.

The Beginning

I started the blog on the heels of our spring break trip to Florida and the Caribbean. Oh gosh, what a trip it was! On our 7-day cruise, we had the Penthouse Suite of our ship. Not only did we have this lavish suite, but we had a hot tub on our balcony!

Blog

The suite was an amazing deal and I will have to share my story of how we scored it in a future travel post.

Anniversary
Living Room
Dining Room

Bumps Along the Way

A few months into the blog, I was diagnosed with Meniere’s Disease. I haven’t posted an update on my condition lately, but I am happy to report that my condition is stable and manageable with diet and medication. It’s been months since I had a severe vertigo attack.

Through trial and error, I’ve been able to resume my morning cup of caffeinated coffee and have a glass of wine or two with dinner. Sodium does not seem to increase any of my symptoms, though I feel better when I avoid sugar and high-carbohydrate foods.

Plans for the Future

I would like to share more decor stories on the blog. It frustrates me to no end that I don’t have the time to tackle decorating projects around the house right now. But, I am almost done with school. The New Year will be bringing great changes around my house and blog.

Upcoming project! An Outdoor Kitchen – this photo is just an example…not a plan 🙂

 

Menu plans or weekly recipes? I’m still not sure where to go with them. Personally, I like the ability to print off recipes and I haven’t mastered that on the blog yet. So, the recipes are a work in progress. I may take on a “Top 5” recipes weekly format. Or I might start posting recipes every other week. Given me feedback on this!!

So Happy Anniversary and Thank You!

So, thank you for your readership. Let me know what you’d like to see going forward.

Top 5 Fall Recipes for the Week

Let’s hear it for fall! I’m sharing five of my favorite fall meals this week. Now that the weather is cooling off, I love comfort meals. What is more comforting than soup and dumplings? I’ve shared them below:

Chicken Dumplings

For this recipe, I use a rotisserie chicken. I like using the pre-packaged sliced rotisserie chicken that Costco sells, but you can buy one large or two small rotisserie chickens to use instead.

fall

Chicken Stew

2 Tbsp. unsalted butter

1 cup diced carrots

1 cup diced celery

2 small or 1 large onion

1 ½ cup frozen peas

2 lbs. of chopped or diced chicken

8 cups of reduced sodium chicken stock

4 cups water

2 tsp. kosher salt

½ tsp. black pepper

Dumplings

2 cups all-purpose flour

⅓ cup cornmeal

1 Tbsp. baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

1 tsp kosher salt

2 Tbsp. minced fresh herbs (parsley, thyme, chives)

3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly

1 cup buttermilk

*minced herbs for garnish

Using an 8 quart or larger heavy-bottomed stock pot or Dutch oven, add butter and vegetables and sauté for 5-7 minutes. Add chicken, stock, and water and bring to a boil. While chicken is cooking, prepare the dumplings.

To prepare the dumplings: In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, salt and herbs. Stir in the butter and the buttermilk. Stir until just combined, don’t over-mix. Scoop heaping tablespoons of the dumpling mixture and place on top of the stew, leaving a little space between the dumplings (they will expand). You’ll get about 24 dumplings. Cover and cook over low heat for about 15 mins. The dumplings cook in the steam, so don’t lift the lid. Stir the dumplings, recover and cook for another 15 minutes.

Roasted Tomato Soup

fall

3 lbs. Roma Tomatoes

Olive Oil

Kosher Salt

5-7 carrots, roughly chopped

1 onion, roughly chopped

1 tsp each of dried thyme and tarragon

28 oz. diced tomatoes, drained. I prefer to use a carton of Pomi tomatoes

1 carton of low-sodium chicken bone broth

pinch of nutmeg and pepper

1 cup of heavy cream

4 oz. parmesan cheese, grated

4 oz. gruyere cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice tomatoes into thick slices, lengthwise, about 4-5 slices per tomato. Spray a baking sheet with cooking oil, place tomatoes in a single layer on baking sheet, brush or drizzle oil generously over tomatoes and sprinkle with kosher salt. Bake in oven for about 90 minutes, until blackened in spots and softened. Let cool.

 

Sauté carrots and onions with herbs in 6-quart heavy pot on medium heat until onions are translucent. Add 2 cups of bone broth, cover pot, and turn heat down to low heat for 15-20 minutes to allow carrots to soften. Then add the diced tomatoes (Pomi or canned) and rest of bone broth. Once they’ve cooled, chop and add the roasted tomatoes. Simmer for 15 minutes.

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Using an emersion blender, blend the soup until smooth. If you don’t have an immersion blender, carefully blend in a blender ensuring you allow the heat to vent. Add heavy cream and cheese, stir on low heat until cheese melts. I garnished with crispy bacon bits and additional shaved parmesan cheese before serving.

Chicken Piccata

meal plans

4 boneless, thinly sliced chicken breasts

1 Tbsp. olive oil

3 Tbsp. diced onion

1 tsp minced garlic

juice of 1 lemon

1/3 cup no-salt added chicken broth

1 Tbsp., capers

2 Tbsp. unsalted butter.

Sauté chicken breasts in olive oil on medium-high heat for 4 minutes on each side. While cooking, rinse and dry capers to remove excess sodium. Add onion and garlic and cook 1 minute. Add lemon juice and chicken broth. Simmer until bubbly. Remove from heat and add butter and capers.  Select your own recipe for mashed potatoes, add no-salt added canned or fresh green beans, and your meal is ready.

Pork Tenderloin

 When we were researching our new kitchen appliances, the pork tenderloin made in the Thermador steam oven sold me on getting one. Steam creates such a tender and moist tenderloin. To create a more tender and moist tenderloin, use a pre-marinated one from the store.

2 pounds boneless pork loin roast, pre-marinated

½ cup of white wine

Place pork loin into oven, turning and basting with pan liquids. Cook until the pork is no longer pink in the center, about 1 hour. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read 145 degrees F (63 degrees C). Remove roast to a platter. Heat the wine in the pan and stir to loosen browned bits of food on the bottom. Serve with pan juices.

German Apple Cake
Photo Credit: http://www.fuelingwithflavour.com

My German son-in-law loves this cake, so I think it must taste pretty authentic. Using a food processor to slice the apples shortens the prep time. For some interesting information, and a little background on German Apple Cake, check out this website: Apfelkuchen (Apple Cake). My recipe is different, but I liked how they share the history about the cake.

½ cup butter, softened

1 1/3 cup sugar, divided

2 large eggs

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking powder

3/4 tsp. vanilla

4 large apples, peeled, cored, and sliced

1 tsp cinnamon

½ cup of confectioners’ sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat the butter, 1 cup of sugar, and eggs on low-speed for 2 minutes. Add flour, baking powder, and vanilla and mix for 1 more minute. Pour into a 9” greased, parchment paper-lined, spring form pan.

Stir sliced apples with 1/3 cup of sugar and cinnamon. Arrange slices on top of cake, pressing them lightly into the batter.

Bake for 50-60 minutes. Let cool. Dust with confectioners’ sugar before serving.

Enjoy the lovely fall weather and be sure to check back on Thursday for a celebratory blog post!

Lifestyle Icons and Decorating

In my eyes, the original lifestyle icon was Martha Stewart. It’s hard to believe that she started this huge trend back in the 90s. I still have several of her books on decorating, cooking, and homekeeping. I credit her with my early success as a homemaker.

Thanks to Martha, I learned how to fold fitted sheets neatly, the best way to remove stains from clothes, how to cook and carve a whole chicken, and decorating for the holiday season.

Decorating

Of course, this was long before Instagram and Pinterest. I believe that technology has been both a blessing and curse. It’s enabled us to share our decor adventures with others and to enrich our homes because of it. On the other hand, it has also created unrealistic expectations for us to live up to.

I for one, though, love seeing decorating ideas on IG and Pinterest. They really inspire me! I can’t wait to finish school so I can work on some of the things around my house, like painting and decorating.

Keeping it Real

I enjoy blogs where the authors are real. One of my most favorite, must watch IG accounts is “The Home Edit.” Their IG stories are so funny and real (unfiltered?). If you haven’t seen their IG Instastories, do yourself a favor and check them out.

I enjoy writing and sharing information. That’s why I created my blog. I never want to put myself out there as any type of role model or expert on anything. But, if something I know can help someone else, I am happy to share.

Blog Ideas and Decorating

Cooking has always been one of my passions, and it’s one of the things I post most about. Mostly because as a full-time college student, wife, mother, and grandmother, my time is limited.  Cooking is something I do almost daily, so it’s easy to share with you readers.

meal plans

 

Going forward though, I have so many plans for our home! And, I’ll be sharing them. They include decorating our living room, repainting rooms, learning how to chalk paint, putting in an outdoor kitchen, and much more.

It’s time for me to get cooking. Today, I am making this:

Photo Credit: A Taste of Home

It will be one of next week’s menu items. Check back over the weekend!

It’s Mon-YAY! Did I Seriously Just Say That?

What’s New This Week

I’m taking a break from posting a menu plan for this week for a few reasons. September was a crazy month because we were gone from home so much. Between that and school, it seemed like all I wrote about was menus and recipes. So, I’m changing things up this week.

We returned from our 10-day Maui trip at almost midnight on Wednesday night. It felt like Heaven sleeping in our own bed!

Mon-YAY

The following morning, it was back to normal. We took care of our grandson, Dillon, that day, picked up our dogs from our daughter’s house, and I did school work. One thing that made the day so much easier was coming home to a clean house.

Sadly, I did not come back from Maui with a new purse. It wasn’t for lack of trying. I posted a picture of the limited edition Louis Vuitton Hawaii tote, which I thought was really cute.

When I went back to Louis Vuitton with my husband, I’d decided on the new Graceful or the Favorite. Unfortunately, they were sold out in both Maui stores and even online. I’m still looking though. I’ll keep you posted 🙂

Makenna Turns One!

On Sunday, we celebrated our granddaughter’s first birthday! Makenna turned one during our vacation. She and I are both October babies.

Mon-YAY
Dillon, Makenna, and Mason

 

It’s Truly Mon-YAY!

I am now a Monday lover! I never, ever thought I would love Mondays.

When I started my Bachelor’s degree program, my homework was due on Tuesdays, and then on Mondays.  That changed several weeks ago. Now, everything is due on Sunday nights, so Monday feels like my Saturday. That’s why I’ve been doing more posts on Mondays lately. It’s my first “free” day of the week.

This Week’s Goals

My main goal this week is to make my house look more fall-like. I love fall! Usually as soon as Labor Day hits, I am all over fall decorating. But, we were gone to San Francisco that weekend. Then we left for Michigan a few days later, and to Sacramento for a wedding a few days after we got back.  A week later we went on vacation until October 4th. September was a blur.

I am hesitant at setting any other goals, besides getting my homework done. I actually sat down with my planner last night and started to prepare for the week ahead. I’ve been using this planner:

Mon-YAY

But, I’d really like to have one that’s more like this:

Mon-YAY

Does anyone have any suggestions?

Have a truly blessed week. Time permitting, I will post later this week.

This Week’s Menu with a Hawaiian Tropical Twist

Hi readers! In honor of my Maui vacation, I’m sharing a few local favorites that we’ve enjoyed dining on, along with their recipes. I enjoy Hawaiian food, especially their pork and fish dishes.

There are several different types of fish living off the waters of the Hawaiian Islands. Opah (moonfish), Kumu (goatfish), Monchong, Opakapaka (pink snapper), Ahi Tuna, Uhu, and Hawaiian butterfish can be found in local restaurants. This article explores how to prepare these types of fish: HERE.

We purchased fresh Monchong for dinner last week. The resort we are in has a Grill Chef that comes in twice a week to grill for the guests. So, we decided to have it grilled by him.

Hawaiian
Monchong

It was lightly broiled on the outside and flakey inside, exactly how I like my fish.

Grilled Shrimp with Fresh Herbs

Along with the fresh Monchong, we bought fresh shrimp from Costco. The shrimp were straight from the ocean and still had their heads attached! Readying them for cooking was an experience, but well worth the effort. Along with the fish, we had the Grill Chef cook the shrimp. He used butter and fresh herbs from their herb garden to cook them.

Hawaiian

Here is the recipe:

Ingredients:

Directions:

Combine all the ingredients and allow them to marinate for 1 hour at room temperature.  Heat the grill and brush well with oil to prevent the shrimp from sticking. Grill the shrimp for only 1-2 minutes on each side, until pink. Remove from grill immediately when done. Serve over rice.

During our stay, we have eaten at a number of local restaurants in Ka’anapali and Lahaina Here are two of their most popular entrée recipes for this week’s menu:

Duke’s Macadamia Nut Herb-Crusted Fish

I found this recipe online at Hawaiian Electric’s website. They have a “find a recipe feature” that has recipes with a Hawaiian twist. This one is from the chef Duke’s restaurant in Oahu.

Hawaiian
Duke’s Macadamia Nut Fish

Ingredients:

4 (6 oz. size) Opah (Moonfish) fillets
Pinch of kosher salt
1/2 tsp. ground white pepper
1 cup panko (Japanese flour meal)
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup finely chopped unsalted macadamia nuts
3 Tbsp. finely chopped basil leaves
2 Tbsp. finely minced garlic
1/2 tsp. finely chopped thyme leaves
2 Tbsp. olive oil

Directions:

Season fillets with salt and pepper. Combine remaining ingredients except olive oil; coat fillets with mixture. In a skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Sauté fillets until golden brown, about 4 minutes on both sides. Serve with Lemon-Butter Wine Sauce with Capers. 

Lemon-Butter Wine Sauce with Capers:
In a saucepan, heat 1/4 cup dry wine, 1/4 cup chopped onion, 2 tablespoons chopped parsley, 2 tablespoons chopped chives, and 1/4 cup lemon juice. Cook until liquid reduces to half. Add 1/4 cup heavy cream; simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in 1 1/2 cups softened unsalted butter, a little at a time. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 cup capers, and 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice. Makes about 1 cup sauce. 

At Kimo’s restaurant in Lahaina, I had some delicious ribs. The glazed sauce was soooo good. I was able to find a similar recipe at Hawaiian Electric’s website.

Pork Ribs with Mango Barbecue Sauce

Serves 4

Ingredients:

4 to 5 lbs. pork back ribs (20 ribs)
5 bay leaves
2 tsp. cracked peppercorns
1 1/2 tsp. liquid smoke
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup water

Sauce:

1 cup catsup
2 cups mango puree
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp. rice vinegar
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp. liquid smoke
2 tsp. sweet chili sauce
1/4 tsp. ground coriander
1/4 tsp. cumin

Directions:

Place ribs in a roasting pan. Combine bay leaves, peppercorns, 1 1/2 teaspoons liquid smoke, salt, and water; pour over ribs. Cover tightly with foil. Bake in electric oven at 375°F for 45 minutes. Combine the remaining ingredients to make the mango barbecue sauce. Remove ribs from roasting pan; place on rack of broiler pan. Basting frequently with the sauce, broil ribs in oven 6 inches from broiler unit until browned on both sides.

Dinner would not be complete without a dessert! For desert, pies are really popular here. It seems like each restaurant has a special pie they are known for. One of them is Hula Pie served at Duke’s and Kimo’s restaurants.


From www.tsrestaurants.com
Hula Pie is made with Kimo’s favorite macadamia nut ice cream piled high on a chocolate cookie crust and topped with chocolate fudge, whipped cream, and more macadamia nuts. Here is the recipe for it from www.hawaiimagazine.com.
Hula Pie

Ingredients:

1 9-inch chocolate cookie pie crust
1 half-gallon macadamia nut ice cream (Seems like a lot of ice cream, but you’ll be piling it high.)
4 ounces chocolate fudge topping
1 shot of espresso or strong coffee
6 ounces macadamia nuts
Whipped cream

1. Bring fudge topping to room temperature.

2. Scoop ice cream into prepared pie shell, smoothing it into a rough dome, or bombe, as high as you’d like.

3. Warm espresso or coffee and mix into chocolate.  Use a warmed knife to spread topping even over ice cream bombe.

4. Freeze until ready to serve.

5. Cover top of pie with a layer of whipped cream and chopped macadamia nuts before serving.

Can’t find macadamia nut ice cream in your local store? Just substitute good vanilla ice cream—soften it just a little and mix in chopped mac nuts. We actually prefer this option to store-bought mac nut ice cream, as the flavor is more balanced and the texture of the nuts will remain firm, not soggy.

If you’d prefer to make your own pie crust, too, simply mix chocolate wafer crumbs (about a cup and a half) with a little sugar and about ¼ cup melted butter. Press the mixture into a pie pan.

Unfortunately, I haven’t had any room for Hula Pie after dinner because I’ve been way too full. I will, though, before we leave on Wednesday. 
Bring a little Hawaiian into your life this week and make one of these recipes. I hope you’ll share your experiences below! See you again soon.