I know it’s not really “Fall” anymore but I’m obsessed with these cider cocktails. Bourbon, whiskey, and hard cider? Together?? Sounds like an accident waiting to happen. I’m down.
Or, you know, just take your booze at breakfast. Maybe add some sugary treats on top? It’s totally fine, I promise. Oatmeal is a health food and absorbs all the sugar. Fact.
I know eggnog is one of those love-it-or-hate-it things…but please. You must try this. ‘Nog on its own…I get it. Baked into oatmeal? Mind blown. Something about the warmth, the heartiness, the creaminess, the delicate spiciness…I’m dead.
AND. You won’t feel like you ate a brick (yet) because Califa Farms has a phenomenal almond milk ‘nog that’s egg free, dairy free, and vegan–yet somehow manages to be thick, luscious, and actually tastes good. And it’s only got 50 calories per serving…as opposed to approximately one billion in a cup of real eggnog. I don’t know what kind of voodoo magic this is, but I like it.
Eggnog Oatmeal (Dairy Free & Vegan)
2 c Califa Farms Holiday Nog
1 c oats
Dash bourbon (or dark rum)
White chocolate chips
In a small saucepan, heat the Nog over medium heat until it bubbles at the edges.
Add the oats, stirring well.
Cook for 3-5 mins or until oats are thickened to desired consistency.
Add the bourbon.
Pour into serving bowls.
Top with some white chocolate and butterscotch chips. Allow to get all lovely and melty.
I love how my departure from full time work seems to have decreased my productivity to, like, nothing. I had all these plans…like keeping the house clean and getting into awesome shape and taking classes and all kinds of yuppie mumbojumbo. But. Yeah.
This chili takes less than half an hour to make–from a pile of raw meat to steaming bowl of goodness. Even I’m not too lazy to dump a bunch of stuff in a pot for half an hour. Hearty, spicy, comfort food at its best, y’all.
1 lb ground beef
28 oz canned diced tomatoes with juice
1 chopped onion
6 oz tomato paste
1 T chili powder
2 t garlic powder
1 t oregano
1 t salt
1 t black pepper
1/4 t red pepper flakes
In a medium heavy-bottomed pot, brown your meat over medium high.
Add all other ingredients and give it a good stir.
When chili begins to boil, turn the heat down to medium, cover, and simmer for 15-20 minutes (the longer the better!)
I guess I was still on an apple cider kick. I’ve come to the stunning realization that bacon, cider, and sautéed apples go with everything. E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-A-N-G.
Honestly, I wouldn’t judge if you just made a pot of the cheese sauce and sucked it through a giant straw while binge-watching season 4 of Scandal. Not that I’d know.
Last weekend, a friend of ours had a party with a mac and cheese bar. Apparently this is a thing? Think a big long table with all varieties of mac and cheeses, and then—and here’s where I was totally schooled—a variety of toppings. WHAT. I must be super slow in the whole social development thing, because I have never, ever heard of toppings for mac and cheese. Especially not anything like guac, roast veggies, sausage, and (my elixer of life) sriracha. I mean, I’ve always smothered mac and cheese with ketchup, but because I am a savage I smother everything in ketchup and generally avoid admitting it to anyone, ever.
Well anyway, for said mac-and-cheese-athon I was (as always) THAT gal who called ahead of time and let my host know that “oh-by-the-way I’ve got a ‘DIETARY RESTRICTION’ so you have to go out of your way to cater to my needs.” When faced with a potentially problematic situation I generally do a cost/benefit analysis based on occasion, type of food, and proximity to a toilet. Helps if there’s multiple bathroom stalls, too–you know, to avoid blame.
I don’t have full-blown Celiac and I won’t pretend like my intolerance is life-threatening. I genuinely hate inconveniencing or irritating people so a lot of times I’ll just do the best I can. But wheat noodles smothered in a cheese sauce made with a wheat flour roux? In a one bedroom apartment filled with people? Better to be annoying than to fumigate the place with the bodily equivalent of nerve gas.
OK, so all of this nerve gas fart talk was just my way of explaining to you that I used gluten free pasta.
So…Gluten Free Pasta. If you choose to go that route (and you totally don’t have to), there’s some good ones and some really, really not good ones. I’m a HUGE fan of Wegman’s brand GF pastas (corn-based), so if you’ve got a Wegman’s, look no further. If not, then I’d lean towards corn pastas since I think they taste exactly like regular old plain pasta. Brown rice pasta and quinoa pastas are fine, too. I wouldn’t freak out about it. Hipsters and celebrities love gluten free stuff, which means they’re generally less cardboard-y than int he past. Remember, the noodles are merely a vessel for the cheesy goodness that is this boozed up bacon sauce.
Let’s mac some cheeeeeeeese.
Cheddar Apple Bacon Mac and Cheese
12 oz macaroni noodles (I use gluten free)
2 thick slices of bacon, cut into lardons
1 onion, diced
1 apple, diced
2 T butter
2 T tapioca starch, arrowroot powder, or corn starch
1 c hard cider (regular apple cider or apple juice works, too)
1/2 c milk
1/4 t nutmeg
1/2 t dry mustard
1 t garlic powder
2 c grated sharp cheddar
In a heavy bottomed pan over medium high heat, cook the bacon until crisp. Set the bacon aside but save the drippings.
In the bacon grease, add the onions and sautee until translucent.
Add the apples and mix well. Cook the onion and apple for another 2 or 3 minutes, then remove from the pan and set aside.
Turn the heat down to medium.
Melt the butter and whisk in the tapioca starch, creating a roux.
Add the cider, whisking constantly. Reduce by about half–the mixture will be very thick.
Add the milk and seasonings, continuing to whisk.
Turn down to low and add the cheese, apples, onions, and bacon, stirring to incorporate.
Cook and drain your pasta. Make sure it is al dente.
Add the noodles to the cheese sauce.
Transfer to an 8×8 baking dish. At this point you can cover and refrigerate for later use, if desired.
Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes, or until the top is slightly browned and the cheese is bubbly.
I’m pretty sure the only reason my husband asked me on a second date was because he realized that I was willing to feed him. I have a pretty terrible personality. But I did have a handful of recipes that I could throw together on a weeknight that, at least at the time, were sufficiently delicious and “fancy” to hold his interest.
Admittedly, at this stage in my life, I thought that going to BJ’s was a “fancy night out” so, if we’re being honest, if we were like 3 or 4 years older he’d have probably walked out about halfway through our second date and I’d be bitter and alone.
Even so, I had some pretty cool tricks up my sleeve. Grilled cheeses on crusty boule with gruyere and parmesan, carbonara, scratch made lasagna, roast chicken (NOT the pre-made kind, either!), and this…
Back when, you know, I actually had cable TV and could binge watch Food Network all weekend, I picked up a recipe for pork chops and a beer-bacon-gravy from Rachel Ray. So delish, amiright? I made the original several times and then made a few changes to the ingredient list after going Paleo, and then a couple more since coming out of my mid-20s angst and realizing that Paleo was awful. Because without Paleo in my life I could seriously drink this gravy and it would be OK. I’m into accepting people for who they are, aren’t you? Of course you are, so let’s eat part of a pig covered in booze, shall we?
Pan Seared Pork Chops w/ Spiked Apple Bacon Gravy
4 Thick-Cut Pork Chops
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 T Olive Oil
4 Thick Slices of Bacon, cut into lardons
1 Onion, diced
1 Medium Apple, cored and diced
1 T Arrowroot Powder or Tapioca Starch
1 1/2 c Hard Cider (apple juice is fine, too)
1/2 c Chicken Stock
Season your chops with salt and pepper to taste.
Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.
Brown the chops on each side until just firm, about 5 mins on each side.
Remove to a plate and cover with foil to let rest.
Add a bit more oil to the pan and add your bacon.
When the bacon is browned, add the onions and stir until translucent.
Add the apples, mix well, and cook for another 2 or 3 minutes.
Whisk in the arrowroot powder for about a minute, then add the cider, whisking constantly to combine well and avoid lumps.
When the gravy is reduced by half, add the stock.
Let simmer for 4-5 minutes, then pour over the pork chops.