Homemade Pumpkin Spice Mix

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Blend

 

Until now, I’ve managed to avoid the insane addiction to everything PS [that's what the kids call pumpkin spice these days... you're welcome]. I’ve just never been crazy about pumpkin pie, pumpkin rolls, or even the ever-so-popular pumpkin spiced latte. I know.. I know.

 

In the spirit of the quickly approaching season, I decided to give a homemade version a go. Turns out, I may enjoy Homemade Pumpkin Spice after all!

 

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Dipped Shortbread Cookies

Dipped Shortbread Cookies

 

I can’t say that I am not the type that enjoys overly sweet desserts and confections. I definitely am. There are a few exceptions to this, and shortbread is one off them. Maybe it’s the ridiculous amount of butter that is in them. Maybe the bit of raw sugar that I sprinkle on top. Whatever it is, it’s delicious.

 

Keep reading for our favorite, simple Dipped Shortbread Cookie recipe. And, ya. We are going to dip it (Because… When I dip, you dip, we dip.) in chocolate and add a bit of of a surprise on top.

 

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Brown Butter Butternut Cream Pasta

Brown Butter Butternut Cream Pasta
It’s almost that time, y’all! Start putting together your Halloween costumes, mull the cider, spice up your lattes. The chlorophyll is breaking down in the leaves </nerd>… Fall is just around the corner! While I do enjoy the summer heat (for all of about 2 weeks at the beach if we are honest here), the crisp breeze around a warm blanket on a star-filled autumn night with friends and family is just about as perfect as it can get.

 

I decided to start working on some new recipes and just jump straight into the season. The first is this Brown Butter Butternut Cream Pasta. Butternut squash, caramelized with a brown sugar rosemary combo, goes together like Hocus Pocus and punkins with a brown butter cream sauce. Top with sweet and salty dry roasted cashews and you are ready to kick things off.

 

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Country Ham Melt

Country Ham Melt

 

Everyone loves a sandwich. Everyone. There is something comforting about a good ol’ PB&J in your lunchbox, a grilled cheese on a Saturday morning with snow flurries (Sorry! I know Summer isn’t quite over yet.), pulled pork and a nice cider (a personal fav!).

 

We’ll step it up just a notch with a simple, but delicious Country Ham Melt– Cured country ham, braised in a brown sugar reduction, with peppered avocado, swiss cheese and finished with our spicy Roasted Tomato Pepper Mayo. All between two buttered, thick slices of toasted sweet bread.

 

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Maple Whiskey Peach Fritters

Maple Whiskey Peach Fritters

 

Millions of peaches, peaches for me! — It’s nearing the end of peach season (womp, womp), but there is still a bit of time if you haven’t taken the opportunity to go grab a basket of fresh ones for yourself. I recently went with the intention of coming home with like half of a peck. I ended up with over 30 pounds. 30 pounds is like… more than both of my cats together. Huge.

 

Peach Orchard

Peach Orchard in Kentucky

To start off using some of these fuzzy lovelies, I decided to give fritters a go. I had recently had some delicious glazed fritters (apple, as you usually find) from a small bakery in Kentucky. Why not make peach ones? Why not also add some booze to them? Maple Whiskey Peach Fritters were the final (absolutely delicious) product.

 

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Cravable Crunchy Croutons

Homemade Crunchy Croutons

 

I realize some of you will see this and be like, “What? He posted how to make croutons?”. Let me preface this… I have been in a love hate relationship with croutons for years. Decades, perhaps. I suppose like any child, I wasn’t a huge salad fan. Now that I am old more mature, I love them. In my mind, you just can’t have a good salad without the perfect crouton. I’m not a rabbit. I mean, with all of that green stuff in it, you have to have some buttery carbs to balance it out. I didn’t even think about making my own croutons for the longest time. Even with all of the baking and cooking that I do, it just seemed to slip my mind.

 

From the day that I tried this, I haven’t turned back to even glance at the grocery store varieties. These are perfect in every way. You can change the seasoning to match your mood, cook them so they are crunchy on the outside and a big soft on the inside (my personal favorite), and probably the best part– you can add all of the butter you want. These Craveable Crunchy Croutons (check out that alliteration, Mom!) are the key to success in your salad future.

 

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Roasted Tomato Pepper Mayo

Roasted Tomato Mayo

Roasted Tomato Pepper Mayonnaise – SO good that it needs absolutely nothing else in the picture! Promise.

I have something to get off my chest. This may be difficult for some of you to hear, but I am told that admission is the first step to recovery. I am… Oh, geez… Ok. I am. I am a condiment queen (actually a phrase kids use these days…). There. I said it! Mac sauce on my McDouble? Duh. (seriously, y’all. TRY it.). BBQ, mayo, a dip in the ranch for my burger? You betchyuur britches!

 

To feed this ridiculously delicious obsession, I decided to venture back into the tomato world. After all, I had just overdosed on some sprightly salsa. Might as well see what else those garden-grown tomatoes could be used for, right? The latest fix is an absolutely amazing, creamy Roasted Tomato Pepper Mayonnaise —  complete with poblano peppers and garlic.

 

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Homegrown Tomato Salsa

Homemade Salsa

 

I’m that guy that visits every Mexican restaurant in town to test the margarita and salsa waters. If it doesn’t pass the good chips and salsa test, vámanos! Having just returned from Mexico, I was on a salsa kick.

 

I have a few favorite restaurants here in Nashville that pass my salsalitmus test, but really wanted to nail down a good, fresh salsa recipe to make at home. I did have an insane amount of tomatoes in my back yard, after all. On top of that, I was given a solid 10 pounds to add to it.

 

Here is the result– a fresh, simple Homegrown Tomato Salsa recipe.

 

Mexico!

Mexico, y’all!

 

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Southern Fried Okra

Southern Fried Okra

 

A prerequisite to being branded as a true Southerner is learning to properly fry. Not just anything counts. It has to be something that is on the official list of true Southern staples. The top of this list, next to fried catfish and the best chicken you will ever have, is Southern Fried Okra.

 

If you can’t make good okra, well, you might as well move to Michigan… or Florida for that matter (since everyone knows it’s not really a southern state, anyway). I’ll show you exactly how to impress the in-laws of that Southerner that you recently nabbed at the Derby with this recipe. Promise.

 

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