GOOD GRAVY! - MOM'S HOMEMADE GRAVY


With the holidays rolling around the corner and with food being a huge part of those holidays, now is the time to gather good recipes.  This is a cornerstone recipe for me- one that I use often and it always gets compliments.  If you've never made gravy from scratch before, don't be scared.  It's easy, simple and oh-so rewarding.

This is the same way that my mom would make it every time we had a roast or miniature meatloaf.  I have such happy memories of Mom standing in the heady scented kitchen, swirling a pan of juice with a weathered wooden spoon and watching as it slowly transformed into a velvety umami condiment fit for a king.  Take a little extra time to make your own gravy this holiday season and you'll be making more than just food.  You'll be making memories for your kids to cherish for years to come.

If you season the meat well before you cook it, you shouldn't have to doll up the gravy much at all. You can use my Easy Freezer to Crock Pot Roast recipe if you want some ideas.

EASY FREEZER TO CROCK POT ROAST


Nothing beats coming home to the smell of Sunday dinner filling your house and the comforting happiness of knowing that supper is ready.  Oh, crock pot of mine, I love you.  Especially in the chilly Fall and Winter months when my time is better spent curled up by a fire with the Man than cooking in my cold kitchen (whoever decided to put tile down in there had certainly never had to stand on it for any length of time in the winter).

So, without further ado, I bring you the pinnacle of procrastination, the epoch of easy, the tidal wave of tastiness, the king of all the crockery: the Pot Roast.  I throw mine in frozen with a bit of seasoning and a lot of veggies, so the only prep work and forethought required is peeling some carrots.

You should absolutely use this recipe for gravy if you're feeling up to taking this dish to the next level of greatness.

CREMA DE ZUCCA PIZZA - PIZZA FLORIDA


The best pizza that I've ever had was, sadly, all the way across the pond in Rome.  Near Campo Del Fiore and right across from the cat sanctuary sits a tiny little shop called Pizza Florida.  My mouth still waters thinking about the smell as you walk in; the sound of the shopkeepers busily cutting slices from huge slabs of chewy-crusted pizzas and sliding them into ovens to toast up.  You pay by weight and they use scissors to cut through the chewy ciabatta crust and mouthwatering toppings.  If I haven't sold you on it, check out all of these reviews from other people who have been there and are still touting its greatness.

The Man and I were really craving our favorite Pizza Florida creation: the Crema Di Zucca.  Pumpkin cream spread over the holey crust, then topped with porchetta, mozzarella, and gorgonzola.  This salty sweet combo is perfectly set off by the fruitiness of the gorgonzola- oh my gosh, I'm craving it again already.

As we lack the funds and ridiculousness necessary to fly to Rome just to eat pizza, we improvised.  I have the recipe below, both the "cheater's version" and the full-blown one if you want to go all out.  If you have trouble finding porchetta, you can get a similar taste with either prosciutto, speck, or even bacon; although the texture and depth of flavor that porchetta provides is pretty unmatched.

makes: 3-4 servings
takes: about 30 minutes
YOU WILL NEED:

1 loaf take n' bake ciabatta
10-12 oz. porchetta
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1 T. heavy cream
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp. black pepper
1/4 cup gorgonzola
1-2 cups shredded mozzarella
olive oil
garlic clove

Cut the ciabatta loaf in half lengthwise like a sandwich bun.  Cut garlic clove in half and rub onto the bread halves, then drizzle the halves lightly with olive oil.

In a bowl, stir together the pumpkin, cream, salt, sugar, and nutmeg.  Spread thinly over the bread.

Top the bread with the porchetta, then the cheese.  Bake at 350' until the cheese begins to lightly brown.  Mmm,. mmm!


DIY LEATHER WALLET & PATTERN TEMPLATE


Men are hard to buy for.  Really hard.  If they want something, they just go out and buy it- none of this womanly hemming and hawing over a $10 purse that's perfect- a guy would just buy it if he needed it.  Although, from personal experience, this may be because I tend to buy lots of things that I don't need (i.e., a rocket ship-shaped popsicle maker that I only used once before realizing that it's a little indecent).

Well, the point of this wandering line of strung-on sentences is that men are hard to buy for.  If they want it, they buy it and if they don't buy it, it's probably because they can't afford it.  And, usually, neither can you.

So, for the man in your life, whether it's a dad, brother, or in-law- this wallet should do just fine.  It's a cinch to make and doesn't require any special leather-working tools.  If they like real leather bi-fold manly man wallets- this is the one. 

Get the pattern here.  The pattern will give you step-by-step instructions, but I'll give them to you here, too.

SWEET & SPICY PICKLED RED ONION RELISH


If you're looking for a way to use up extra onions from the farmer's market or your garden this Fall, this is a really great way to do it.  It's easy, fast, and those jars just look so pretty and cheery sitting on your pantry shelf. 

Come winter, pulling out a jar of these crisp-tender, sweet-sour, super-spiced pickled onions will be one of your favorite things to do. 

These taste amazing topping a piece of crusty french bread with a slice of Irish Cheddar or on top of a burger.  Heck, these can even make hot dogs edible. 

If you don't feel up to canning (which you should give a go if you haven't done it), you can just do all the steps up to putting them in the hot water bath and pop them in the fridge instead.

VINTAGE HALLOWEEN PUMPKIN CAT & OWL PRINT

https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0B9lX15rLaMHpeFFuT2NwRkUzWms&usp=sharing

These charming little retro pumpkin graphics are sure to cheer up your October!  Just click on the pictures above or below to download the files.  The ones below are single, large pumpkins.  They make great wall decor, greeting cards, craft projects, wallpaper, wrapping paper, or banners- the possibilities are endless!  Enjoy!