October 29, 2014

Autumn-Spiced Roasted Acorn Squash

One of the ingredients during fall that I cherish most is acorn squash. Of course, I relish all things pumpkin and apples during these autumn months. But, I find the simplicity of roasting acorn - or even butternut - squash this time of year to be something quite special.


One of my family's favorite ways to prepare acorn squash is to cut it in half and roast it with a little butter, nutmeg, salt, pepper and maple syrup. My Sweet Roasted Acorn Squash is always a hit and everyone loves grabbing a spoon and diving in to their own personal serving.

But, we, also, love it cut into slivers and roasted with various spice combinations and toppings. For this recipe, pumpkin pie-style spices get sprinkled onto olive oil-coated acorn squash wedges that get roasted to perfection and drizzled with a little real maple syrup. The crunch of a few toasted pumpkin seeds as garnish add a nice textural component.


This would be a beautiful and delicious addition to your Thanksgiving dinner table. The squash gets tender on the inside while taking on a slight char around the outer edges (my favorite part). The spices add a touch of warmth that definitely are reminiscent of the flavors associated with fall. And, the slightly-reduced pure maple syrup contributes just the perfect amount of sweetness.

October 21, 2014

My Top Twelve Cooler Weather Recipes

It's that time of year again - the time when most of us around the country are craving food that evokes feelings of warmth, sustenance and comfort. We're embracing life beyond refreshing salads, grilling out and sipping lemonade by the pool. We're seeking out new soup recipes to try, inspiration for incorporating pumpkin into our desserts, heartier breakfasts that'll really "stick to our ribs" and maybe some ideas for dinner that'll require us to get those ovens heated up.


Today I am sharing twelve of my personal favorite fall recipes from here on Joyously Domestic. There's a little something for everyone here - desserts, soups, pasta, slow cooker meals and a real favorite here on JD - Oven-Roasted Chicken and Potatoes.

Just click on the orange-colored title for each recipe and you'll be taken to the corresponding post.

October 14, 2014

Slow Cooker Apple Butter

I have a confession. My children sometimes sneak and eat jelly with a spoon straight from those little packets at diners while we wait for our food to arrive. You know the ones I'm talking about - those little jelly and jam packages that are all stacked up in the plastic, black caddies sitting atop the tables at some casual joints. Yes, those. With a spoon. Plain. Into their mouths.
 

Well, this practice has led to them now loving apple butter since apple butter is often one of the selections in the black table-top caddy. With an abundance of apples on hand recently, I set out to make apple butter at home in my slow cooker.

I used to make apple butter during my teenage years with my grandmother, so I knew the basics. After researching some various recipes online recently, I came up with something that I am now simply in love with. I've made two batches so far and plan to make up a bunch more once it's closer to the holidays for gift-giving to family and friends.

Since this recipe takes around eleven hours of cooking time in the slow cooker, I've found that it's easiest to cook the apples overnight. I get things going before going to bed and before lunchtime the following day, I've got apple butter made.

And, oh, the aromas that will fill your house are just intoxicating. You'll be tempted to grab a spoon and dive into the slow-cooked apples before you even blend them up. (Confessions Number Two:  I did just that.)

October 07, 2014

Spice-Kissed Sweet Potato Crunch

Calling all sweet potato lovers out there ... this is 'da bomb  sweet potato casserole - like, the one that tops all others in my opinion. It has the perfect balance of fall spices, crunch, creaminess and sweetness. And, it doesn't have to be made just on Thanksgiving ... it went great with our Slow Cooker Root Beer Pulled Pork Sandwiches recently and I often make it anytime I make a big Sunday ham dinner. (Baked ham and sweet potatoes go hand-and-hand in my book.)
 

And, now that it's cooling down here in Michigan, it's great to have my kitchen fill up with the scents of fall while this dish is baking ... the cinnamon and nutmeg bring about those aromas of fall for me.  And, that crunch topping is seriously dangerous!

This recipe yields a good amount ... probably enough for 8 - 10 servings as a side dish. So, if you're only wanting enough for a smaller crowd, you could easily cut the recipe in half ... just be sure to use a slightly smaller baking dish.

October 02, 2014

Sweet Corn, Potato and Sausage Soup with Kale

This is such an inviting, flavorful soup that couldn't be more perfect for these chilly fall days. This soup is hearty and filling. It'll really warm you up from the inside out. And, it's just as good (if not better) reheated, so this would be something super fitting if you're a person who likes to make up a large pot of soup for the week ahead. After all, some days there is nothing more comforting and perfect than being curled up on the couch with a coffee cup of reheated soup in hand, fuzzy slippers on our piggies, blanket-draped shoulders and the remote at our side.


My family found that we thoroughly enjoyed this garnished with some freshly-shaved Parmesan cheese on top. The sharp, salty notes in the cheese paired perfectly with the sweetness brought to the party by the corn.

The browned sausage lends a lot in terms of flavor to this soup, but it could easily omitted if desired. An alternative that I would recommend would be to garnish the soup with a little cooked, crumbled bacon at time of service.

NOTE: Fresh, chopped spinach can be added in place of the kale if desired. Chop either into the size pieces that you prefer. I like the kale roughly chopped, but it can be chopped a little finer if desired.

Yields 6 servings.

September 25, 2014

Slow Cooker Root Beer Pulled Pork

Hello, lovely readers. I just had to take a break from our home remodel projects that have had me on somewhat of a blogging hiatus as of late to share with you this delectable pulled pork recipe. Seriously. The family is so, so into this rockin' pulled pork sandwich recipe right now. (I'm being asked to make it yet again this weekend.)
 
 
I don't typically allow the kids to drink much soda unless we're out to dinner somewhere or it's a special occasion. And, I'm pretty much a strict water and iced tea drinker. I do buy pop, however, off and on for the hubby to take along to work. I had one lone can of root beer hiding in the back of the fridge that he hadn't drank, so I decided to put it to use making pulled pork.
 

I had recently tried out a new barbeque sauce recipe (recipe at bottom of post) that I've fallen in love with. It is perfect for this recipe. You can simply use your favorite store-bought barbeque sauce (make sure it is a good-quality one), but I so, so encourage you to whip up the homemade version below. It's a dump-everything-into-one-pot kind of recipe and is super easy.

September 09, 2014

20+ Scrumptious Breakfast Recipes from Joyously Domestic

 
Whether you're looking for something to feed the kiddos as they're heading out the door on a busy school morning or you're wanting something special for a weekend brunch, this collection of breakfast recipes is sure to bring some pizzazz to your morning meals. From overnight slow cooker oatmeal to an all-in-one breakfast casserole, you're sure to find some breakfast inspiration here.

September 02, 2014

Peanut Butter, Banana and Chocolate Chip Oatmeal "Muffins"

Hello. Remember me?

I have been on a hiatus (of sorts) from blogging any new recipes for a couple of months while we're remodeling a house that we just took possession of in July. (Are we close to completion? Thank you for asking. But, nope. Not even close. We're getting there, though.) We've been up to our eyeballs in cabinet staining, drywall work, mudding and such ... all those super-de-duper fun things that come along with most remodeling adventures.


I have barely been cooking or baking from-scratch recently. (I know - gasp.) Our new house is just a few miles from where we currently live and we're not moving in until most of the renovations are done. So, we've been at the new house working during our "free" time which has meant that my hubby and kids have been mostly living on take-out, pizza, granola bars and string cheese. (I wish I were kidding.)

This past weekend, however, I couldn't take it anymore. I was dying to get into the kitchen - even if it meant giving up a couple hours of working at the new place. So, I made a big pot of my Cheesy Potato Soup and kept it warm in my slow cooker to transport over to the new house. (Nothing says gourmet, by the way, like soup served in Styrofoam cups and eaten with plastic spoons.)


And, these scrumptious "muffins" were made ... and quickly devoured.

These are not quite actually muffins in the true sense of the word - they are chewier and a bit denser than traditional banana muffins. (Having no flour in the mix makes them a little different than muffins, as well.) Regardless, they are darn yummy and are great on the go! They actually remind me of Quaker Oatmeal To Go Breakfast Bars - if you've ever had those.

Who doesn't love the combination of chocolate, peanut butter and banana? They're made with stuff most of us usually have on hand and they're ready to pop in the oven in just a matter of minutes. They'll carry you through the morning and are, also, great for after school snacking.

August 18, 2014

Our New House - Its Back-Story and Info on The Updates to Come

Back at the beginning of July, I shared with you my intention to take A Break from Blogging while we spent some time renovating and moving into a "new-to-us" home. We were just getting ready to head out on a family vacation at the time - a road trip out west from our home state of Michigan - and were coming home to begin work on the new place.

We just took possession of the house at the end of July, got the keys in our hands and have now started some minor work that we'll be doing ourselves while we wait for contractors to start work on the addition we're having added on.


We won't be relocating to the new house until most of the renovations are complete.

July 02, 2014

A Break from Blogging

I've struggled with how to write this particular post or even if I should write it for quite some time now. And, I've been a little hesitant and nervous about having to eventually hit the publish button. But, I feel that you - my readers and followers - deserve to know exactly where my heart is right now and what plans I have for my future with regards to blogging.


 
I adore blogging. It has been such a fun experience and extremely satisfying. I started Joyously Domestic just over two years ago and it has truly brought so much joy and fulfillment to my life. I'm not considered a big fish  in the blogging word per se. But, I've worked my butt off during the past two years to try to share creative ideas with those who visit here. I started out knowing nothing about blogging. But, I've learned and grown along the way. And, so many of you have been right here with me - showing support in so many ways.

One of my main wishes when I started JD was to create a sense of community. It has been my desire to create an environment here and on my corresponding social media outlets that would inspire people in the kitchen. I desired a place to share family recipes from my kitchen to yours and, also, a place for us to inspire one another. In my life, nothing is more important than family and building lifelong memories with those I love. You've listened to the personal stories about my life and family that are often woven throughout my posts. And, you've encouraged me with your comments and messages time and time again. I really cannot thank you enough.