Sunday, Sunday…


Sunday in our home town, is probably much like Sunday in your hometown. Church, followed by breakfast at your favorite spot. Home for some yard work or chores…Does anyone still have their traditional Sunday family dinner, I hope so. Now that we are at the Shoppe on Sundays, there is no time for a sit down Sunday dinner. Oh, I am not complaining, I love what I do, I love the people I have met, the friends I have made, and the atmosphere our family has created, a few people have commented, on this in particular; they thought it felt like an extension of their home, their dining room, kitchen or living room. This sounds just about perfect to me. Maybe we can’t have a sit down Sunday dinner here at Picasso’s but we are surrounded with family and friends, and that is almost as good. Don’t you think?

pansy and iris

Our Sunday Soup specials, Tuscan Sausage, with potato and kale (just as luscious as it sounds) and vegetable (loaded with veggie goodness)

Salad special Sunny citrus on mixed greens with red onion, cucumber herbs, served with our homemade honey lemon dressing. A bright spot in your day!

Smoothie: Mango tango (oh, yes, I just made that up) Mango, orange juice, pom juice, and vanilla yogurt! Shine on!

Special: Angel hair pasta with tomato pesto and topped with fresh grilled chicken! Served with a side salad or not!

Have a wondrous day, enjoy your friends and family!

Wow, that’s a lot of exclamation points! hee her.
Be well.

Gold, pure Gold.

Gold, pure Gold.

Secret Pumpkin Whoopie Pies….shhh


I always look forward to this time of year; an in between time. In between the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, and the jammed packed schedule of the fleeting summer months. A time to collect my bearings, look at where I’ve been and where I am heading, start holiday to do lists, take down and launder summer curtains, pillows, and porch furniture cushions…hang the heavier, cozier, cool weather drapes, toss the comfie blankets, and pillows on the sofas. Time to stack fire wood for the kitchen wood stove, and the time for my families favorite: PUMPKIN WHOOPIE PIES! I have shared this recipe with very few folks over the years..they are fabulous and the recipe was my secret; after several friends asked for the recipe, and neighbors declared,”It’s almost whoopie pie season isn’t it?”, I suppose it is time to share this favorite recipe with you. Guard it well. I hope that you enjoy them as much as we do.

Secret recipe for Pumpkin Whoopie pies

Cookies
pre-heat oven to 350
2 cups brown sugar (tightly packed)
1 cups vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups pumpkin, cooked and mashed ( canned will do if in a pinch)
2 eggs
3 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. vanilla (real vanilla)
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. ground cloves

Cream sugar and oil.
Add remaining ingredients, mix well.
Drop by heaping tsp. onto parchment lined cookie sheet ( I use a cookie scoop, to obtain a uniform size)
Bake for aprx. 10 minutes ~ be careful not to over bake, you want them moist and cakey ( is that a word?)

Let cookies cool.

Filling

2 egg whites
4 tbsp milk
2 tsp vanilla ( the good stuff)
3 cups of confectioners sugar ( use in 1 cup increments)
(1 1/2 cups shortening)

Mix together the egg whites, milk, vanilla, and 1 cup of the confectioners sugar.
Then add 1 cup of confectioners sugar and and 1 1/2 cup shortening..mix well
Then add last cup of confectioners sugar

Make sandwiches and enjoy! Remember, these are secret…shhh.

early morning light filtering through the snowy trees

early morning light

misty morning chill

barn roof tops and snowy glitter

frosty pumpkins

nature's sparkle

silly tree...every other one has lost their leaves...

rosey

What in the world do I do with these…


I have an abundance, a plethora, a boat load, a copious profusion of zucchini, now I know this is not the first time you have ever heard anyone say this ~ I am certain, but, I really, really mean it this time! If zucchini were gold I would be rich!

Now, I had to ask myself, “Who can I pawn this off on(I mean give these blessed vegetables to)”? No one really wants these 2 foot long green monstrosities; I needed to be honest with myself. So I grated too many; I figured I would freeze bags and bags of the green goodness, I could make breads, zucchini chocolate chip cake, use some in veggie lasagna this fall and winter…but now my freezer is running out of space.

I remembered a recipe from a few years ago; Zucchini boats! This was the answer, at least for today. They were yummy, even my family thought they were yummy (a bonus). I prepared them similar to stuffed peppers, with a rice, beef, and tomato mixture ~ all topped off with melted cheese.

Now, let me see if I can recollect how I made them, you see, I am not good at using recipes, I have many, many cookbooks (as in maybe 50 or more) and I read them all. And, that is where our relationship ends. When it comes to soups, stews, casseroles, and such I pretty much wing it! The end result is nearly always delicious.

go ahead gather your garden goods and lets get going!

family size recipe serves 6-8 folks
3 or 4 medium to large zucchini ( halved and hollowed)
1 medium onion finely chopped (I chop mine very fine because I don’t like onions, but you needn’t bother if you like them coarsely chopped)
olive oil
1 large green pepper chopped about the same size as the onion ( so that they cook evenly)
garlic to your taste, I love it, so I load ‘er up!
for seasoning, I use Italian herbs, you could even used the pre-mixed Italian seasoning packaged dried herbs. Now here is the tricky part ( for me) because, I use enough…what ever that means to you…I would say taste the meat onion, pepper mixture after it is cooked ~ go from there.
Salt and pepper to taste
6 servings of rice- roughly 3 cups (cooked) you could use instant,jasmine, or brown rice(which I prefer)
1 1/2 pounds of ground beef or ground turkey
1 large can diced tomatoes(I use the basil, garlic type)
spaghetti sauce ( your home made or your favorite)
cheddar cheese (or your favorite) to cover

I use a very large cast iron skillet (your can make the whole wretched mess in this one pan) you should see this thing! anyway…
Have the halved (I just smiled at that…) zucchini hollowed out…just past the seeds, set aside.
warm the skillet over medium heat, add olive oil to just cover bottom (not your bottom), add chopped onion, pepper, garlic, and seasoning saute until soft, and the onion is translucent… remove from pan, set aside.
add the ground meat to the skillet that you just sauteed the veggies in, cook through..drain.
Now, add the sauteed veggies, cooked meat, and rice (cooked, remember..hard crunchies, no good) in this large skillet and mix together, add tomatoes and heat through…breath deeply…yumm, smells great right.

remove skillet contents to a large heat proof bowl,rinse the skillet, if you are using a cast iron pan like I do ( if not get out a large baking dish) big enough to hold your zucchini.

Fill the halved zucchini with the rice mixture and place them in the skillet( or baking dish) as you go..when your filling ups are complete..pour spaghetti sauce or even seasoned tomatoes sauce around them, filling the bottom of the pan, no need to cover them with sauce, just enough so they bake in it. cover each boat with cheese, cover with foil. and bake at 375 until zucchini is fork tender, don’t be afraid to uncover and check on them…then continue baking uncovered until the cheese is done just the way you like it! I didn’t put a baking time in here – it will all depend on your zucchini size and thickness :) Now make a beautiful crisp salad and enjoy!


where the zucchini roam..


maybe, just maybe I should have washed these before the picture…


fall is coming…no frost on this pumpkin yet.


I think I am loving the color orange today, so cheerful!


..and the promise of more…pumpkins that is..


I think next year’s garden should have even more zinnias, don’t you?

I love this time of year!
Be well,
Jessica