Alley's Recipe Book
Alley's Recipe Book    Alley's Recipe Book    Alley's Recipe Book       Alley's Recipe Book    Alley's Recipe Book

Weekly Menu

Thanksgiving weekend is officially over.  So is November.  Can't believe it will be December in a few hours... my Facebook newsfeed is filled with pictures of Christmas trees already!

So before we move on to Christmas, just a moment to recap Thanksgiving.  We had several of them, with the last one ending just a few hours ago at our house.  The house is filled with aromas of roasted turkey, butternut squash, and sage!  Mmm  :)  So full though!  We passed on a couple classics, but had a traditional roasted turkey, crispy roast potatoesbutternut leek soupbrussel sprout gratin, and caesar salad.  I couldn't decide on a dessert to make, so I got some cookies from our neighborhood bakery and some Jeni's ice cream... I think everyone was satisfied.  ;)

DSC03416 DSC03418 DSC03424 (2)

Now we have tons of leftover turkey to move through and turkey stock simmering on the stovetop.  So this week's menu has a couple leftover recipes and some beef/lamb recipes that rarely make the list just to change things up enough from the back-to-back turkey nights.

turkey, apple, and cheddar paninis
thanksgiving enchiladas
thanksgiving loaded nachos
steak tacos
lamb kabobs

Seems like tex mex has a takeover on the menu this week, but it is just too easy to turn leftovers into non-traditional tacos!  Some kind of soup will make it on to the menu next week to utilize this yummy smelling turkey stock.

Small Business Saturday

Small Business Saturday in Columbus Ohio

Happy Thanksgiving Eve!  I'm sure you have your menu planned, ingredients in the fridge, some things prepped, and oven schedule written down.  Don't forget that even if things don't go to plan, that the day is about spending time with your family even if the turkey isn't perfect.

So even though I work for a major retailer and Black Friday is super important to our business, personally, I would rather participate in Small Business Saturday.  Black Friday is focused on deep discounts which is harder for small businesses to participate in.  There are so many benefits to shopping small!  You will likely get better service because the associates are much more vested in the store and could also be the owner or related to the owner.  You are supporting your community.  By spending your money in your town, you get to see the success in your town.  And the products you are buying were most likely made in America and were not trucked across the country, lessening the impact on the environment.  Plus, you will find unique items you can't get in a big box store!

Now that you're planning on shopping on Saturday, might as well work on that Christmas list!  There are so many gifts to buy at local stores, you can certainly find something for everyone on your list.  Here are a few places around Columbus to get you started... 

Fun for Kids and Adults
Big Fun - this store opened last years and has a great collection of nostalgic toys and games
Bink Davies - with a couple locations around Cbus, you can find a range of cute, funny gifts including things for babies, kitchen gadgets, and jewelry
Baer Wheels - bikes are on a lot of Christmas lists and my family has been going to Baer Wheels since I can remember
Celebrate Local - a collection of all things Ohio in one store at Easton
Simply Vague - if you don't find what you want at Celebrate Local, you might find it at Simply Vague at Polaris

Not everyone loves giving or receiving clothes as gifts, but if you have a fashionista on your list, then check out a couple boutiques in the Short North; Baby Bird (for the little ones), Rowe Boutique, and Ladybird

Endorphin Highs and Some R&R
The Dance Factory - buy a month pass for a gift or yourself to have fun while getting your workout in
Charles Penzone - the ultimate place for pampering in Columbus
Shadowbox Live - purchase tickets to an upcoming show for your friend that loves to laugh

Food & Drink
Cookwear Sorcerer - love this store and all the fun gadgets, perfect place to find something for the cook or baker on your list
Green Olive Company - need a host or hostess gift for a dinner party?  these specialty olive oils are a great option
Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream - Columbus' most famous dessert, buy a pint for yourself while getting a cookbook, salty caramel sauce (mmm), or sampler pack for a friend
Cup O Joe - end your small business shopping spree and celebrate being done Christmas shopping with a coffee drink or rainbow mojito (if you still a few people left, they'd probably appreciate a gift card for their morning coffee)

Bridal Shower Brunch

bridal shower brunch food and games

When your friends know you cook and bake a lot, chances are likely you might find yourself hosting some parties.  Whether it be dinner parties, baby showers, birthday parties, or... bridal showers.  My little sister asked me to be her matron of honor.  Of course I immediately set up a secret pin board and started thinking about shower, bachelorette, and other wedding ideas! 

The food part comes pretty easy.  I usually stick to individual sized foods so there is no cutting or portioning out.  That definitely makes things easier to grab and is less messy.  Now some showers can get pretty corny and the games can be kind of embarrassing, so I try to think up games that are a little more unique and would have fun playing myself.  

So for my sister's shower we had a mimosa bar with several different juices and champagnes.  That way each guest could make their own combinations or just drink juice (or just drink champagne!).  The shower was at noon on a Sunday, so the food was very brunchy.  Cinnamon strussel muffins, cucumber salmon bites, fruit skewers, parfaits, mini spinach quiche, cinnamon french toast, and maple bacon.  Just the right amount of options that even the pickiest eaters will find something to eat.

bridal shower brunch food and games DSC00129
bridal shower brunch food and games DSC00132 

For the games, I usually stick to about three, but this time I ended up with four.

1. How Old Were They?  This game you take about a dozen pictures from both the bride and groom's childhood, number them, and have the guests guess who is in each photo and how old they were.  The funniest part is having the moms announce how old their kids were in the photos.  They may not get it exactly, but mom knows best, so go with her answers!

bridal shower brunch food and games bridal shower brunch food and games

2.  Who Has the Groom?  - This game is kind of like Clue and Guess Who combined.  Print out several male celebrity photos and one of the future groom.  Place each photo in an envelope and pass out the envelopes.  Everyone peeks at who they have (make sure the groom's picture has his name on it or something since there may be a few people that haven't met him yet).  Then everyone asks each other questions trying to find the groom.  It is a great ice breaker and fun to play while people are still finishing eating since everyone eats at different paces.

bridal shower brunch food and games

3.  The Almost Newlyweds Game - This is just entertaining to watch, but make it a game for the guests too.  Have them guess the couples answers to score points.  It the second round, they can score double the points by guessing the couples answers AND guessing if they will they will guess correctly!

1. Who is the better cook in the kitchen?
2. Who gets to control the TV remote?
3. Who usually gets their way with things?
4. How many kids are you hoping to have someday?
5. How many pairs of shoes does Kathleen own?
6. Who decided on the wedding song for the first dance?

The last six questions, write down what you think is their answer and also think about what your answer is!
7. If your house was on fire, what one thing would your spouse grab before leaving?
8. What is the first thing your spouse would buy if you won the lottery?
9. If your spouse was a superhero, what would be his or her super power?
10. If your spouse was an animal, what animal would s/he be?
11. Where would your spouse want to go on a dream vacation?
12. What is your spouse's dream job?

bridal shower brunch food and games bridal shower brunch food and games

4.  The Passing Game - Last, but not least, is the passing game.  You have a couple prizes that are easily passable.  Explain to the guests that you'll read a story and any time you say "right", they should pass the prize to their right, and "left" means pass to their left.  Then read the story as fast as possible and listen to everyone laugh as they start getting mixed up.  It doesn't matter the accuracy, just that everyone has fun!

<Bride's name> knew RIGHT away that she had found Mr. RIGHT and the RIGHT date was set. Now seemed to be the RIGHT time to start so she LEFT RIGHT after lunch and went RIGHT to her mother’s house. She LEFT in such a hurry that she LEFT her to do list RIGHT on the living room table. But there was no time to turn back. She knew she needed to get started RIGHT away to make sure nothing was LEFT undone.

With only <##> days until the wedding day, there seemed to be little time LEFT to spare and so much LEFT to do. She asked her mother to WRITE down a guest list because she knew mom would make sure no one was LEFT out.  <Bride's name> LEFT to find the RIGHT invitations. On her way, she LEFT a message at the florist and then RIGHT into the bridal shop she ran.

RIGHT in the window was the perfect dress. “Oh no, I LEFT my checkbook RIGHT in the car.” “Hold that dress, I’ll be RIGHT back.” With that accomplished, she called Mr. RIGHT and LEFT him a message to call her RIGHT back. She LEFT to meet the florist who had LEFT her a message that they had the RIGHT flowers for her.

Mr. RIGHT called her RIGHT back and said he LEFT a message for the preacher RIGHT down the road to call them RIGHT back and that he had just LEFT work and would be RIGHT over. She LEFT the florist and ran RIGHT over to meet Mr. RIGHT. RIGHT away they discussed what was LEFT to do. “Who will be the RIGHT best man?” She LEFT that up to Mr. RIGHT. “I’ll get the RIGHT maid of Honor.”

RIGHT away they started shopping for the RIGHT rings. With that done, the next stop was to order the RIGHT cake. Mr. RIGHT could clearly see his future Mrs. RIGHT was on the RIGHT track.
After a long day, they were both LEFT exhausted. All that was LEFT to do was get RIGHT home to see if any messages were LEFT while they were out. Sure enough, Mom had LEFT a message that the church RIGHT down the road was available so she requested it RIGHT away. Now that was not LEFT to worry about. “Lets call it a day.” “Whatever is LEFT to do, can be LEFT until tomorrow.”

So, now there is nothing LEFT to say except enjoy the rest of your day.  Just for fun though, pass once more to the LEFT.  Now see, that was fun, RIGHT?

Planning for Thanksgiving

It's time for the biggest cooking day of the year!  When experienced and novice chefs alike plan out a menu, buy tons of food, work hard in the kitchen, and serve up something delicious for their friends and family.  

Of course it is also time to give thanks, and not just for the feast and family in front of you.  Too many families are in need, especially this time of year.  And that is why Whence is partnering up with Godman Guild to provide Thanksgiving meals to families here in Columbus.  Please consider donating through the Whence app this week to help others have a healthy, happy Thanksgiving!

Since we are all planning for Thanksgiving, and our Bowman Landes turkey will be delivered by Green Bean Delivery, which means I need to start planning space in my refrigerator!  So here is a list of some Thanksgiving must-have (and a few unique) recipes to have on your Thanksgiving table...

cranberry-orange glazed turkey
stuffed turkey tenderloin
turkey cheddar apple panini

crispy roast potatoes
butternut leek soup
brussel sprout gratin
stuffing muffins
butternut mac and cheese

caramel apple struesel
mini pumpkin pies
baileys brownies
apple pie chips

Here's to a fun day of cooking!

Weekly Menu

Untitled Untitled

It's time to get back into menu planning!  After a couple months of kind of crazy weeks and a long bout with a cold, there was no way to really plan more than a day or two at a time, things are finally settling down again.

Anyone else surprised by the snow this morning?  I heard it was coming, but I really didn't believe it.  Usually Columbus magically gets passed over by some of these storms.  Some of the trees in our yard still have most of their leaves... which means they are holding even more snow than they should.  Hope their branches can withstand the weight!  And I guess it was good timing that we tore down my vegetable garden on Friday.  I still had a few peppers growing from summer!  Couldn't believe it!  One of the peppers ended up on our pizzas tonight (pictured below).  

Alright, here is this week's menu... 

pizza night
creamy salmon pasta
sticky drumsticks and brussel sprouts
asian meatballs and steamed broccoli
chicken & sour cream enchiladas

What are you making?


Eating in London

It's hard to believe it has been almost two months since we were in London!  Life has been a bit of a whirlwind since then, but is finally starting to slow down... right before the holidays.  :)

While Paris was my favorite city and Switzerland had my favorite moment of our European vacation, our days in London were full of planned events we could only do in England.  It started with seeing Shakespeare's A Comedy of Errors in the Globe Theatre (a rebuilt replica of the theatre Shakespeare got his start that burned down to the ground, twice).  Then two shows at London Fashion Week (Fyodor Golan and a trend catwalk show, the song Habits by Tove Lo always takes me back to this moment).  And then to a English Premiere League football match between the Tottenham Hotspurs and West Brom (although we were hoping to see ManU play in Old Trafford).  

While in London, I had to go to one of my favorite chef's restaurants... Jamie Oliver.  We actually went to two of his restaurants, Jamie's Fifteen and Jamie's Italian.  And then, of course, we had to have some fish and chips.  Outside of those three must haves for me, London is kind of a melting pot of food culture.  We went to this bakery every morning that was on our way to the closest tube stop and had croissants (couldn't get over the French lifestyle).  There were Italian, African, French, American, Indian, and Asian restaurants.  And there were TONS of old pubs.  Many around for centuries (a couple we saw had been around for over 400 years)!  But if you're looking to eat out on the weekends, you better know someone who has reserved the restaurant for the night because apparently that's a thing.  We walked around for a couple hours on Sunday trying to find a pub that didn't have a 'closed for private party' sign on the door.  

DSC02123 DSC02118
Our first stop in London was basically as soon as we got off the train.  We went to Jamie's Fifteen for a late lunch and by the time we were done, we had the place to ourselves.  Jamie Oliver's idea for the restaurant is to take 15 "troubled" youths and train them in the culinary arts and start their careers.  Our table was close to the wood fired oven and pastry prep area so we were able to witness some of the training moments while we ate.  On the walls they had pictures of the "graduating classes" with Jamie.

I had one of the lunch menus, which is a preset 3 course lunch.  Ordering from each section (appetizer, main course, side, dessert) is technically called a la carte.  My lunch included a salad with fried egg, smoked salmon and potatoes, and cantaloupe sorbet.  I also had a Southside, which was their interpretation of a mojito.  My husband had rabbit and potatoes.

IMG_3554 DSC02117
DSC02119 DSC02122
Like I said earlier, we couldn't get out of the French way of doing breakfast.  Once we had the almond croissants in London, we couldn't help ourselves.  I started putting almond extract in my pancakes about a year ago, but those almond croissants made me think I should be putting that extract in everything.


Our first full day in London we went to Jamie's Italian for lunch.  It seemed like Jamie Oliver's fast-casual chain since there are several of them throughout England.  We ate outside since the weather was so nice (and not normal for London), but I noticed on the way out that the restaurant had a small grocery area too.  

We had some drinks and bruschetta to start our meal, which wasn't your typical bruschetta.  In fact, the only thing it had in common with the wiki definition is the toasted bread, but it was still very good with gorgonzola, prociutto, pear, and walnut.  For the main course I had gnudi, which are basically ricotta balls, or as Jamie explains it... "naked ravioli" (recipe here).  Oh, and cime di rapa as my side dish, which is cooked broccoli rabe and leafy greens.  My husband was finally able to find some lasagna after searching all over Rome for some.

IMG_3580 DSC02209 DSC02210 DSC02211DSC02315 IMG_3622
On our touristy day that we didn't have anything planned but to see all of the famous sites, Harrod's was a must on my list.  You could spend days in that department store.  And you'll most likely get lost too... but you won't mind since there is fun shopping on every level and every corner.  So I looked online for some places to eat in the area and found Richoux rated highly and had the fewest dollar signs by the name.  London is an expensive city, if you don't do your research, every meal will be over 100£ (which is about $175 USD).  We had sandwiches and afternoon tea while we rested our feet.  We also enjoyed a couple rich pastries.  All for under 35£ which felt like a steal!

DSC02388 DSC02392
And for the mandatory fish and chips we went to the Anchor after literally running through Tate Modern and before the play started at The Globe.  We also grabbed a couple pints... my favorite, which I have to assume is an English classic, Black Velvet, which is Guinness floated on top of hard cider.  After running around to what seemed like every pub in London and seeing "closed for private party" on every door, we settled for these "salad pizzas" at Pizza Express.  And then we found another pub by our Air Bnb apartment where we enjoyed a few more pints and bagpipers playing (ironically, right after Scotland decided to continue being a part of the UK.

IMG_3561 IMG_3640

All in all, London both defied and explained the stereotype that London has the "worst food in Europe".  There were so many examples of great food, but there were also the occasional duds and areas it was hard to find places to eat.  Stick to a few restaurants that are trending (and likely expensive) and fill in with some neighborhood pubs for a great range of English food.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...