Cooking

Fall is here . . .or is it?

adk_0097The fall equinox has come and gone. We’re now two days into October. And it’s 93 degrees today. So much for pumpkin spice lattes! I had a margarita yesterday it was so hot!

Despite the sweltering temps, I’m still in the mood for fall treats and watching Hocus Pocus! Well, let’s face it, I’m always in the mood to watch Hocus Pocus.

We made sugar cookies this week. We had such fun decorating them! What are your favorite fall treats?

adk_0096

Cooking

Pound cake update

Thanks to my sweet husband for my new bundt pan and to Martha Stewart for the lemon glaze recipe.

Aunt Grace’s lemon pound cake | the lush’s blush blog

Great Aunt Grace’s Lemon Pound Cake

Ingredients

  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups Crisco
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 tbsp lemon flavoring

Directions

Cream sugar and Crisco together. Add eggs one at a time. Add salt and baking powder to flour and sift together. Add flour mixture and milk to batter, alternating between the two and mixing until combined. Add flavoring. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour and 20 minutes.

My husband is always slightly disappointed that I don’t put icing on my lemon pound cake. I think it’s perfectly delightful without it. I did give this glaze a try this weekend and I may be a convert. It really added to the deliciousness of the cake and gave it an added brightness of flavor.

Cooking

Morgan’s famous ’good on everything’ dry rub

Morgan’s famous ‘good on everything’ dry rub | the lush’s blush blogMy husband makes a delicious dry rub that is great on pretty much any kind of meat. We’ve used this on a London broil to grill and we always use it on chicken or pork when we cook in our smoker.

It’s not really famous, but it should be!

Morgan’s dry rub

1 cup dark brown sugar

1/2 cup kosher salt

1/4 cup garlic powder

1/4 cup onion powder

1/4 cup cumin

1/4 cup chili powder

1/4 cup fresh ground black pepper

1 teaspoon cayenne

Mix all spices together. Shaking it up in a mason jar works well. Rub liberally into meat for grilling or smoking.

Smoked pork shoulder | the lush’s blush blog
Morgan’s delicious smoked pork shoulder
Beach, cocktails, Dining

Kitsey’s guide to the Crystal Coast

People are always asking me for my recommendations on things to do, and in particular, places to eat on North Carolina’s Crystal Coast, so here’s the quick and dirty!

About the Crystal Coast:
I love its tourism slogan “North Carolina’s Gem.” It’s so fitting for this lovely area that includes Atlantic Beach, Morehead City and Beaufort.

Where to stay:
Formerly known as the Clamdigger, it now goes by the more upscale sounding moniker of The Inn at Pine Knoll Shores. It’s a great hotel for a quick weekend trip. For longer trips we book a condo through Cannon and Gruber.

Where to eat: (The most frequently asked question!)

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Amos Mosquitos in Atlantic Beach. My number one choice though it’s really a tie between here and Floyds. Fun, casual atmosphere and great food. The pork chop with tasso ham gravy is what I’d want as my last meal if I’m ever on death row. It’s only open for dinner and always packed in the summer. Get there early and be prepared for a wait, but it’s worth it. Have a mojito in the bar while you wait. And order the s’mores for dessert cause it’s fun!

 

Floyds 1921 in Morehead City. My other number one. In a beautiful old home it’s casual but still has a fine dining flair to it. The entire menu is wonderful. The crab bisque, mac and cheese appetizer and meatloaf are all good. I usually order mahi mahi when I’m here. And I ALWAYS (well except for last year when I was pregnant) order a Big Daddy Dirty Martini! Amazing desserts too!

Ruddy Ducks in Morehead City. This is my dad’s favorite place and we usually end up eating here at least twice if not three times while we are visiting in the summer. The shrimp basket is the best deal at the beach! Sitting on the deck makes for an even more enjoyable experience. The painkiller cocktail is another yummy choice. The fish tacos are good as are all the burgers. Great place for the seafood and non-seafood lovers.

acs_0246Channel Marker in Atlantic Beach. This place has a bit of an old-school feel to it. They put out the cracker basket and cheese on the table when you arrive. The deck is great if you like to sit outdoors with a view, it’s right on the waterway. The mahi is good and just the plain ol’ fried flounder is another of our favorites. I always upgrade to the stuffed baked potato.

 

 

 

acs_0245Spouter Inn in Beaufort. Great spot for lunch. The flounder sandwich is good as is the egg salad. Another great place to dine al fresco right on the water!

 

 

 

What to do: 

North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores. I just love this place. I go nearly every summer. Be sure to pet the stingrays and say hi to the otters, Neuse, Pungo and Eno. If the otters are asleep on your first trip around, swing back by again before you go. It’s worth it to see them playing!

Shackleford Banks. Take the ferry from Beaufort over to this little island to see the wild ponies and collect some shells. It’s wonderful at low tide as there is a big sandbar you can walk way out on.

Fort Macon in Atlantic Beach. If you like history this place is definitely worth a visit.

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The Lush's Blush blog
cocktails, pregnancy

Pickles and pina coladas

The Lush's Blush blog
Flashback to being 32 weeks pregnant with my sweet little boy.

“When are you due?”

“Are you having a boy or girl?”

These are some of the most frequently asked questions of pregnant people. People also want to know what crazy thing you have been craving to eat. I’m a little bummed to report that I didn’t really have any weird cravings while I was pregnant. I was very lucky to not have any morning sickness but my appetite all but disappeared, particularly during my first trimester.

As someone who loves food and loves to eat, it was very weird to not feel hungry. Every day when he got off work, my sweet husband would call and ask what I wanted for dinner. He would beg and cajole and offer to fix anything I wanted. I would just sigh and tell him to fix whatever he wanted and I would try to eat a few bites.

The closest I did have to a craving I’m convinced was brought on my other factors than my pregnancy. In the early months of my pregnancy I really wanted a pina colada. I didn’t want alcohol I just wanted a cool creamy coconut and pineapple drink. At the time I was using a shampoo that smelled strongly of coconut and I blamed the craving on that, and perhaps my constant desire to be somewhere warm and tropical.

After several trips to the grocery store and talking myself out of getting the makings for a pina colada, I finally did it. My pregger pina colada was a simple mixture of cream of coconut and pineapple juice, add ice and put it in the blender. It really hit the spot and that was the end of my craving for it.

I confess that I did want to eat pickles while I was pregnant, but I’ve always loved pickles. I didn’t eat any with my pina colada. The weird thing was I didn’t want my homemade pickles. I only wanted the plain store bought dill pickle chips.

While I didn’t have any cravings while I was pregnant, I pretty much crave all the food all the time now that I’m breastfeeding.

 

motherhood, Uncategorized

Happy New Year!

I’d like to say that my New Year’s resolution is to get back to blogging, but there’s a good chance that won’t happen. The reason I have neglected the blog of late is a good one though. I made a tiny human! Being a mother is the most amazing thing I’ve ever done, but gosh is it tiring!

A few years ago I gave up making resolutions anyway, so I’m not going to beat myself up over forgetting to post on the blog. The reason I gave up resolution making is because I couldn’t even manage to keep silly ones. I once made a New Year’s resolution to wear sexy underwear and drink champagne more often. Even that frivolous goal I couldn’t manage to achieve. As a new mom, fancy panties and champagne are definitely out the window now!

Being a mom is a grand adventure though and I hope to carve out some time this year to share my thoughts on this wonderful experience.

Wishing you all a bright and lovely 2018!

The Lush's Blush blog
Cooking

A pasta warning

I’m going to warn you about something. Don’t, I mean don’t, ever try homemade pasta. If you do, you will never want to go back to the pitiful dried up stuff in the box. It’s a sad dilemma, but one we now face in my household.

My husband Morgan was given the pasta maker attachment for our Kitchen Aid mixer as a birthday gift. He teases me about how he always seems to get gifts that I benefit from too. It’s not my fault he likes kitchen gadgets! He said he wanted the pasta attachment and so that’s what my dad chose to give him for his birthday. I may or may not have been the one to suggest this to my dad.

img_2488As I may have mentioned, I am not good with dough. Well, other than spending it. Morgan, however, has mastered this skill. On his first run with the pasta maker, he made homemade spaghetti. Once the dough is made, it runs through the roller attachment several times which smooths and flattens it to the desired thickness. A second attachment is then used to cut the noodles. One important thing to remember when making homemade pasta is that it doesn’t take nearly as long to cook.

Since acquiring this magical new device, Morgan has made us homemade spaghetti with meat sauce, chicken Alfredo with fettuccine and Italian sausage and mozzarella stuffed ravioli. I have a hard time deciding which of these dishes has been my favorite. For the ravioli he made last week, he also made a homemade tomato cream sauce that was good enough I could have eaten the entire pot, with or without any noodles.

If you have a pasta attachment and want to try making homemade noodles, Morgan’s recipe is below. Even if you do use store-bought noodles, I recommend trying this homemade tomato cream sauce, it is divine!

Morgan’s Pasta Dough (makes half a pound)

Ingredients:

• 1 cup unbleached all purpose flour

• 2/3 cup of whole wheat flour

• 2 eggs

Instructions:

Whisk flours together to combine. In a separate bowl whisk eggs. Make a well in center of flour and pour in whisked eggs. Use a fork to slowly stir flour into the egg. If dough is not combining properly, add a teaspoon or less of water till dough combines. Once dough is combined to the right consistency dump it onto a floured surface and knead into a ball. Knead dough for at least 10 minutes. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 20 to 40 minutes to rest. Follow pasta maker instructions to roll dough and cut into desired pasta shape. Reminder: fresh pasta takes less time to cook than store bought.

Morgan’s Tomato Cream Sauce

Ingredients:

• 2 tablespoons olive oil

• 1/2 tablespoon basil

•1/2 tablespoon oregano

• 2 large cloves of garlic, finely minced

• pinch of crushed red pepper

• 1 medium onion, diced

• 3 ounces (or half a small can) of tomato paste

• 1 large can diced tomatoes

• Salt and pepper to taste

• Half a carton of heavy cream

Instructions:

Add olive oil to saucepan on medium heat. Add in herbs and garlic and saute for less than a minute. Add in diced onions and cook until lightly brown in color. Add in tomato paste and cook for a minute or less to awaken flavors. Add diced tomatoes and bring to a boil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Reduce to simmer for 30 minutes. Slowly stir in half a carton of heavy cream. Using an immersion blender, blend sauce until smooth. Serve over your favorite pasta.