Blueberry Crumb Cake

“Art any more than a steward? Dost thou think because thou art virtuous there shall be no more cakes and ale?”

-William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night

Blueberry Cream Cheese Crumb Cake

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_ _ My roommate and I are both big homebodies. We have to force ourselves to go out downtown (which has happened a grand total of two times since the boys deployed) and the other day at lunch we got really wild and ordered a beer sampler with our sandwiches. We’ve adopted the mantra, “let’s act like we’re 24!” …But usually after we say that, we have a drink, get sleepy and change into our sweats for the night. Perhaps we’re a more civilized 24, perhaps we’re more cut out for afternoon teas that lead to afternoon naps… Perhaps the Beatles song was really about us: “will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I’m 24?”

_ _ It was unintentional, but somehow after I mentioned afternoon teas, I managed to tie in a reference to British culture. I’m the greatest. So here’s some cake to go with your Earl Grey–as you toast being in your mid twenties.

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Stuffed Poke Chops…

“Observe that noses were made to wear spectacles; and so we have spectacles. Legs were visibly instituted to be breeched, and we have breeches. Stones were formed to be quarried and to build castles; and My Lord has a very noble castle; the greatest Baron in the province should have the best house; and as pigs were made to be eaten, we eat pork all year round; consequently, those who have asserted all is well talk nonsense; they ought to have said that all is for the best.”

-Voltaire, Candide

Stuffed Pork Chops with Apples, Bacon and Smoked Gouda with a Honey, Rosemary and Sweet Onion Applesauce

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_ _ I was always the “good kid” in high school– I never attended a party until my senior year and even then I was usually the DD (ahh the life of a minivan driver). I didn’t imbibe, rarely broke curfew and was WAY too terrified to even attempt something as illicit as shoplifting… Any aura of “coolness” I may have accrued despite authoring a food blog, has officially been destroyed with these admissions but c’est la vie (“la vie” har har). Despite having absolutely no penchant for illegal activities, I have always had an intense fascination with criminal shows, from Law and Order in its many forms, to CSI and Criminal Minds.

_ _ One night during my freshman year of college, I had returned to Ithaca on a holiday break, and because my friend’s parents were sick of having us in the house, we scandalously went to hang out in a local park after-hours. When a cop car cruised by, everyone panicked and dashed for the woods– two boys ran the 4 miles to the other side of the forest before taking a wide loop back around; one girl stopped about 5 feet into the trees, realized we were being ridiculous and strolled back to the car to wait for the rest of us; and one other girl and I crouched low to the ground several yards in and I made her close her eyes with me, convinced that if the police were looking for us they would see the light reflecting off our eyeballs… really, Anna? In retrospect, we all should have recognized that loitering wasn’t exactly going to get us arrested, but the mass mentality of fear lead us all to act absurdly… and I learned that I had been taking in more lessons from those TV shows than I realized– it’s the smallest details that get people caught!

_ _ Perhaps because of this mind set, I don’t like using recipes from other people without giving due credit– it’s intellectual thievery! So it’s all that much more exciting to me when I make food sans recipe and it turns out amazing: I give you, stuffed pork chops with a savory applesauce paired with a light salad.

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Apple Cider Vinaigrette…

“Tart words make no friends; a spoonful of honey will catch more flies than a gallon of vinegar.”

-Benjamin Franklin

Apple Cider Vinaigrette with Mixed Greens and Cranberries

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_ _ This recipe is amazing, I love vinegar and it goes surprisingly well the sweetness of the cider to make a light and tasty dressing, perfect for Fall and pairing with dishes like my stuffed pork chops, to cut the heaviness!

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Slow Cooker French Onion Soup

This is every cook’s opinion –
no savory dish without an onion,
but lest your kissing should be spoiled
your onions must be fully boiled.
-Jonathan Swift

Screen shot Soup

French Onion Soup with Sourdough Crouton and Gruyere Cheese

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_ _ It’s the small victories that make me the happiest– perhaps because not many “big” victories have come my way– but I choose to think that I simply appreciate the subtleties in life. For example, I spent 10 minutes this afternoon trying to pry the cap off my lipgloss, finally resorting to using the knife on a wine screw, and I rejoiced riotously (ok, with a silent fist pump… I was at work and I don’t want to talk about why I have a wine screw in my purse) when it finally came flying off. I celebrate when a person trying to pass in the right lane gets cut off and has to drop back; I’m delighted when the song I want to illegally download is on Limewire and doesn’t turn out to be an automated recording reprimanding me for pirating music; and I’m on cloud nine when a recipe that I try ends up being a delicious meal. I give you: slow cooker french onion soup!

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The Lazy Lady’s Version Of Pumpkin Cannolis…

“Hey, aren’t you going to stay to greet the Great Pumpkin? Huh? It won’t be long now. If the Great Pumpkin comes, I’ll still put in a good word for you!”

-Linus, It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown

Pumpkin Cannolis made with Ice Cream Cones

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_ _ The absolute hardest part about trying to write on a regular basis for this blog, is coming up with something to SAY. I’m constantly trying new recipes, taking pictures of the food and making them usable for the site, but then they just sit on my desktop, mocking me: “Write something, dummy! Your two readers are waiting with baited breath!” I’ve always had trouble with the follow through, and my room is a testimony to this—stacks of unread books have been deposited next to my bed; three water glasses are currently sitting on my dresser (where I moved them from my bedside table) because I told myself that if they were a little closer to the door, I would remember to bring them down to the kitchen; and a pile of unfolded, clean clothes is in the corner, from which I continue to pick out one garment at a time as needed… But, perhaps to shut me up after all my whining about not having a job, the universe has sent me two awesome employment opportunities, so I’m trying to do the things that I’d previously been putting off before my life gets crazy, including posting some new recipes.

_ _ Although I was looking forward to the Fall, Colorado has thrown me a curve ball and went straight from Indian Summer, to hail and freezing rain, but I won’t be dissuaded! I’m going to continue to make food that involves an inordinate amount of apples and pumpkin and anything peripherally related to sweater weather.

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Apples Aren’t Just MacBooks…

“Good apple pies are a considerable part of our domestic happiness.”

-Jane Austen, Letter to Cassandra

Cinnamon Apple Cheesecake Bars Drizzled with Caramel

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_ _ Most of my generation has become completely and thoroughly digitally-obsessed. Facebook, Twitter and even the now outdated Myspace have taken away our ability to communicate with each other without the protective barrier of a computer screen… And not to rant (but I’m going to), the self-absorption involved with social media is mind blowing! It’s not as if this has never been said, but to honestly believe that your 1,250 “friends” will be interested in the fact that “Doug is wishing he was at the beach” is beyond narcissistic. Doug, we all wish we were at the beach. Thank goodness I have this blog, where I know EVERYONE cares what I have to say… Wah waaaah. Oh the harsh mirror of a reality check.

_ _ If you can pull yourself away from the fascinating updates of a constantly changing newsfeed, head to the kitchen and throw together these apple-cheesecake bars. You can even make that your status and see how many people “like” it.

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