Fast forward to Fall?

Not so fast! There’s still plenty of Summer around here in North Alabama, and we intend to enjoy it.  Today is the 22nd day in September that the temperatures have been in the 90’s.  We even hit 100 twice this month!  We might as well make the most of it, since there’s nothing we can do about it.  It will be soup season soon enough.

I finished off the peach crop with a new, fun way to form a pie crust.  I started off with my standard Peach Pie recipe, but branched out a bit by making the Buttermilk Pie Crust. Then came the fun part! Rather than dividing the dough into two crusts, I rolled it out into one huge round, about 16-18″ in diameter. After carefully centering it in the pie pan and adding the filling,  I pinched on an edge and then pleated the whole thing toward the center, brushed it with egg wash, and sprinkled on coarse sugar. Success!  This may have been one of the prettiest and tastiest pies I have made.  Try this trick on any fruit pie.

Those of you who follow this blog may remember that I’m rather fond of one-dish dinners. We enjoyed a couple of simple, yet satisfying entrees this past week. Creamy Zucchini and Spinach Rigatoni fills the bill for Meatless Monday. This time I took it up a notch by stirring in a can of diced fire roasted tomatoes. Yumm! Those tomatoes added just a little something. I think I’ll continue to use them.

You folks may also know that I dehydrate small strips of pork loin for animal treats. Not all of the pork gets used making these little morsels, so Michael and I eat a lot of pork! (Our pets aren’t spoiled, are they?) Anyway, the last pork leftovers were just what a skillet of Pork Fried Rice with Snow Peas called for. The prep work for this meal took longer than the actual cooking, but I had leftover brown rice, so that helped time wise.  Any time you cook up a batch of rice, I suggest you double the recipe.  It doesn’t take any longer, and having precooked rice stashed in the freezer is a huge time saver.

I often focus on main dishes, but don’t let me forget the sides.  Here are a couple you might like to try…

Cauliflower Alfredo is a lighter alternative to traditional Alfredos that are loaded with heavy cream and cheeses. Don’t take me wrong. There’s still plenty of the cheesy flavor that we all love and you won’t miss the fat grams at all.  Cauliflower Alfredo pairs well as a side with simple grilled meats or seafood, but it can also stand on its’ own as a meatless main.

Not in a cheesy pasta mood? Try these Instant Pot Melting Potatoes instead. These may be my new favorite way to serve potatoes. They are just a little crispy on the outside and meltingly (is that a word?) creamy on the inside. Fresh thyme adds just a bit of interest without detracting from that rich potato taste.  For best results, be sure to use baby potatoes.  I like Yukon Golds for their texture, but just about any small potato will work.

On a silly note…Yesterday was Bella, our Weimaraner’s  13th birthday. Thirteen is old for a big dog, but the vet says she’s in “decent shape” for a dog of her age. She and Lizzie, our little spaniel, celebrated with a birthday dinner of canned food instead of their usual dry.  Happy Birthday, Bella!

Be thankful for what life gives you.

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