Flying Through Fall

Flash Forward to Fall | Domesticated Academic

Oh hey there, how are you?

I’ve been busy. Unfortunately, it hasn’t been making gourmet meals with flair. It’s been living life! I’m going to show you what I’ve been munching on and doing during this lovely early fall season. Granted, the humidity just broke and it wasn’t a very hot summer to begin with, making my AC bill an all-time low, but you won’t hear me complaining, I hate the heat and I hate my electric bill :)

Sunday is a great day for me. I prep a LOT of food for the upcoming week.

Flash Forward to Fall | Domesticated Academic

A few weeks ago, I made spaghetti squash, black bean burgers, crock pot turkey chili, and my standards of hb eggs, fresh veggies, and some beans that I had soaked for the chili were froze for a rainy day. Making food on Sunday’s really helps me stay on track during the week in several areas: there’s something good for lunch every day, it motivates me to NOT take myself to lunch somewhere (or dinner) and I can swim and work out in the evenings and come home to a proper supper. Heating leftovers isn’t all that glamorous, but cooking for one is tough and I like saving money! I did freeze the rest of the chili at the week’s end for later. It made about six servings. I ate about half before freezing it. Rather save it than waste it.

Flash Forward to Fall | Domesticated Academic

This Sunday was no slouch either. Homemade apple/peach sauce worked on the stove while I hb’ed my eggs. I turned the oven on and baked up some of my favorite things in life: roast veggies, my Mema’s pork loin (rolled in flour, salt, pepper, & lemon pepper seasoning), and my first batch of homemade Butternut Mac & Cheese of the season. You’re never going to know there’s a fiber rich vegetable in there! This food prep made a TON of food and I’m going to eat really well all week!

Flash Forward to Fall | Domesticated Academic

Speaking of leftovers, that spaghetti squash and black bean burger combo set me up for a great week for lunches! Doesn’t look like much, but it was delicious!

Flash Forward to Fall | Domesticated Academic

Fall is beginning to fall and I treated myself to a rare PSL from good ol’ Sbux. They’re pretty good but not for the $5 they’re charging now! Meow! and Woof! The coat and I have traveled some miles together. I bought it in 2003, the first year I taught public school and it’s moved with me (and still fits) everywhere life has taken me. I get all nostalgic about the coat. It’s starting to show some wear, but I can’t bear to part with it just yet. I’m waiting until it comes out of the washing machine in tatters before I’ll let go of it. I also can’t get enough of t.swift. I usually don’t like her, but her new tune is catchy and has implanted itself in my middle ear. I just can’t quit you t.swift.

Flash Forward to Fall | Domesticated Academic

Faculty writing group rotates each week to a different coffee shop around town. Last week was the french bistro. Serving a good press of coffee and some fresh crepes with fresh fruit and whipped cream, this place is quite good! Some would argue it’s not “traditional” french, but guess what? We live in Appalachia. It’s as good as you’re going to get around here. My stomach was happy.

Flash Forward to Fall | Domesticated Academic

Wine? Anyone? My friends and I went to a local wine festival over the weekend with some wonderful wineries and some amazing food! Pork belly, angus burger, fried egg, sriracha mayo, bacon jam, cheese, tomato, lettuce, and a challah bun. CRUSHED IT!!!! The tots were smoky and wonderful too.

Flash Forward to Fall | Domesticated Academic

Olivia Pope is back and she’s on her A-Game fo’shizzle. Friends and I celebrated her return with Pope sized wine glasses full of red wine, although not quite as expensive as her taste on the show, more  like $10-15 expensive. I made bacon wrapped grilled cheese bites for a snack to share. It was lovely.

Black Bean Burgers

Black Bean Burgers | Domesticated Academic

Comforting and filing without being too heavy leaving room for football food and plenty of pumpkin everything, these burgers are up to the challenge! Fall is here. And the stuffing of my face with yummy things is coming. Not all the things are bad things, but not all the things are exactly good things either. In a vain attempt to have good things to put in my mouth that don’t involve the words “homemade macaroni and cheese” I was rummaging through my freezer to make room for other things and came across a bag of frozen black beans. Hmmmmm…..brain…..thinks……

Black Bean Burgers | Domesticated Academic

Now before I get ahead of myself: the beans in the freezer–I have been trying to buy dry beans, soak them, use what I need and freeze the rest. It’s cheaper to do this and the beans freeze really well. I made a batch of turkey chili, using kidney beans I’d soaked and froze a bag for something fun later. I had the bag of black beans in the freezer since March and there was no freezer burn on them and they had not dried out or didn’t disintegrate when I defrosted them. A great way to maximize the dollars. I get a bag of beans for $1.25 or just one 16 oz. can for the same price for half of the product. No brainer. You can soak almost anything overnight with little effort if you’re worried about your time costing money.

Back to ma’burgers. I was craving them. The local watering hole makes one hell of a black bean burger and I wanted some. I make these and will sometimes throw in some tuna, feta, and black olives, but this time around, I wanted straight up burger. If you don’t have any greek seasoning (I make my own & store), you can check out your own recipe online to help you out. I’m not the boss of you. You know how to cook. I know it! If you like your burgers a little mushier, cut the bread crumbs by half. If you like a drier consistency, stick with the half cup.

You’ll need:

30 min. total

  • 2 cans (32 oz) black beans, drained
  • 1/2 medium onion (cut in chunks)
  • 1/2 bell pepper (cut into chunks)
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 2 tsp. greek seasoning
  • olive oil
  1. Put the onion, green pepper, and garlic in the food processor (or chop them ultra fine if you don’t have a food processor) and pulse until finely chopped.
  2. Add in the bread crumbs, egg, salt, pepper, greek seasoning and the black beans.
  3. Pulse until combined and chunky, don’t pulverize the beans.
  4. Turn out the mixture and hand mix if necessary to make sure everything is mixed well. You want to see some of the beans!
  5. Shape into patties. This recipe will make 4-5 very good sized patties.
  6. In a skillet on medium heat, saute the patties in olive oil until brown on each side, 4-5 min. on each side.
  7. Serve or store for quick lunches. These also freeze nicely.

Friday Food

It’s been a long time, long time…..(cue aaliyah anyone?) since I posted a recipe. The semester started. And it’s all been downhill from there. It’s not to say I haven’t been cooking, believe me, I like to eat enough to not miss too many dinner bells chiming near my brain, but I haven’t been making anything NEW and EXCITING in the foodie world. And, I’ll just be honest if no one on DSLR camera perfection planet wants to be: sometimes, the food isn’t that pretty, but man it tastes GOOD!!!!!!!!

So, I’m going to give you some amateur, close to dark, strangely colored food pics and say “embrace them with me” because that was some damn good chicken kids…maybe you’ll get an idea out of it for a meal and you can rejoice when your chicken looks like my chicken when you finally get to supper at 9 p.m. on any given Tuesday.

Friday Things | Domesticated Academic

 

Summer cheese dip. There’s still a mass amount of summer produce floating around me. Summer cheese dip has been a great ‘go-to’ for me this summer as a dish to pass, an appetizer, and if we’re being honest, dinner of champions at least twice. Get on it. Queso or feta makes this really good and both cheeses give it a unique flavor.

Friday Things | Domesticated Academic

 

No knead pizza crust. Pizza Friday manages to come around each week with ease and a delicious outcome from the oven. Saving myself time and limping home to the comfort of my apple tv has made life easier all around.

Friday Things | Domesticated Academic

 

Zucchini bread & muffins. I’ve had the good fortune of miles of zucchini this year. I binge bake and then freeze the spoils for distribution later. My Mema’s recipe stands the test of time!

Friday Things | Domesticated Academic

 

Caprese salad. It needs no explanation.

Friday Things | Domesticated Academic

The first cool day was last week. And I made the most of it making homemade shake-n-bake chicken. No mix in the house? That’s ok. Mix equal parts panko breadcrumbs with Italian (or plain seasoned up) and shake it off. Taylor Swift would be proud and your chicken will be fantastic. I use a rack to bake the chicken and you can take the skin off (but really, why would you?) before shaking to reduce the fat/cals. I roasted the zucchini with onions and red pepper with some homemade greek seasoning.

 

Friday Things | Domesticated Academic

 

Last but not least, these little dudes are individual peach cobblers. Adorable by anyone’s standards and perfectly portioned for you. There’s two peaches under the layer of crispy crust that I cubed and added some sugar and cinnamon too. I paired them with some vanilla ice cream and reheated them before serving.

Stitch Fix #3

Stitch Fix #3 | Domesticated Academic

Welcome to this edition of Stitch Fix Day!

I love me some stitch fix and I’m growing to like it more each month. Great clothes right to my door. No fuss, no muss, three days to try them on and decide if they should be in your wardrobe.

This month I found I liked several of the items and if it weren’t for the price, I would keep more! I do have limits and $98 for a pair of pants is just a price tag I cannot yet fathom in my life.  I’m wearing those pants in the photos above. Great pants, nice stretch, super cute, but that price tag. Nope. Couldn’t keep. The other item that I didn’t even try on: a hoodie. My stylist didn’t know this because I didn’t tell him/her, but I’m not much for hoodies in my real life. I own two or three but that’s about it and they’re from my colleges or my old FFA chapter. I don’t usually don a hoodie as a wardrobe staple. EVER. Again, no one’s fault, I’ll put it in my notes for next time.

What I did love were the three pieces in the pic. The Kensie top with lace details in the shoulders was super attractive on the eyes and flattering for the fit. It’s got some stretch in the back since the back panel is cotton and the front is rayon. I love how it laid and knew immediately I was going to keep it.

The gray blazer in the middle has me on the fence. I like it. I like the stretch to it, but find that it might pill up and not look good for very long. I love the ruffle details in the back instead of just a basic, boring back and since it’s not lined, it’s roomie and could be used as a sweater instead of a cardigan (which can make one look a bit dowdy day after day). I have to keep thinking on this one. I’ve got a day or two.

Finally, the asymmetrical zip royal blue sweater. LOVE. LOVE. Wanted and requested and boom, it landed. I love this thing. I don’t know why, but I do. Ok, I know why: it’s soft, it’s comfortable, it feels like a hug, and it’s stylish! I’m going to have to hem the sleeves or cut a thumbhole (aka: take the stitch out & reinforce it) because they’re too long, but I’ll figure that out after I wash it once. I love the off-set zip to it and the royal blue is simply beautiful and classy. I’ll put a bright top under it and make it pop or wear the kensie top, since it looks good with both this and the gray blazer.

Solid fix stitch fix. I’ll think on this blazer. What do you think?

 

Stitch Fix #3 | Domesticated Academic

Check it out and save yourself a few headaches and a lot of stress and time! As a young academic, I’m always looking to improve my appearance to make up for the lack of gray hairs on my head. This is the perfect way for me to do that without losing time doing research or teaching.

Super Easy No Knead “pizza hut” Pan Pizza

No Knead Pan Pizza | Domesticated Academic

Half whole wheat, half amazing! No kneading necessary to make this soon to be family favorite! I started with the recipe from budget bytes and was intrigued by the notion of a pizza hut like pan pizza. All I can think of it the “book it” program that we participated in as kids. Read books, get a personal pan pizza as a reward! Mom and dad got a cheap night out and the kids ate for free as a reward. Pretty much the best thing ever as a kid. Yeah….pretty much :D

No Knead Pan Pizza | Domesticated Academic

I beefed up the crust with half whole wheat, half AP flour and used a little more yeast to help balance out the ‘weight’ of the whole wheat flour. Let the crust grow and expand all day (or the day before) and when you’re ready, plop it into a 10 or 12 inch skillet that greased and you’ll have an amazing crust with melty cheese and toppings. shutthefrontdoor. I need to go make another pizza. You can cut the dough into two or three smaller “personal” pan pizza sizes that’s great for the kids or for ‘make your own’ night.

You’ll need:

12 hours (rise time kids)

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup warm water (90-110 degrees F)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fast rising yeast
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil + more to coat the dough
  • *optional: garlic powder and/or italian seasoning
  1. Bloom the yeast in the warm water. Sprinkle it over the top of the water and set aside for 3-5 minutes to wake it up.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl combine the flour, salt, and the two tablespoons olive oil with a whisk just until combined.
  3. Form a well in the middle of the bowl and pour the yeast mixture in.
  4. Fold the flour and yeast mixture together just until combined.
  5. The mass should be sticky but should clean away from the edge of the bowl.
  6. Pour some more olive oil into the bowl to coat the dough.
  7. Cover with plastic wrap and set on the counter so the gluten will develop and you don’t have to knead it!
  8. When it’s pizza time, preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
  9. Take your skillet and coat the bottom with oil. You can roll it around or use a paper towel to distribute.
  10. Flip the dough out of the bowl into the skillet.
  11. Press to fit with your fingers. Sprinkle garlic powder and italian seasoning to give it some more flavor.
  12. Dress it up any way you want all the way to the edge! Sauce, cheese, all the toppings….I mean ALL THE TOPPINGS!!!
  13. Bake for 18-22 minutes until the cheese is bubbley and golden brown.

Healthy Flatbread Pizza | Domesticated Academic

Grilled Flatbread PizzaSummer Pizza | Domesticated Academic

 

Summer Pizza 

Stitch Fix Friday!

Stitch Fix Friday | Domesticated Academic

I’ve started getting stitch fix! I couldn’t be more excited about it for many reasons which I’ll get into below. I got my box my first month and was underwhelmed by the choices. I was told, “don’t give up” and to try again for another month or two so I could get my profile “nailed down” and happily, my box arrived and I was thrilled to like more of the items this month!

2014-08-14 17.01.44

(like my bra?)

Here’s how it works:

When you fill out your style details online, you can be as specific as you want and it may take a month or two to get things right. I got an off the shoulder shirt last month, hhmmm, no thank you. Went into my profile and said, “please don’t send off the shoulder stuff anymore.” My friend loves jeans w blazers and asked for “as many blazers as possible.” Her last fix had two of them for $80 each, which is reasonable for a well made & lined blazer. You can also include your pinterest board to help the stylist get a good read on you. If you buy all of the items, you get 25% off the whole box price. You can pick flexible delivery dates and how often you get a fix in the mail to manage your preferences. Nothing shoved down your throat. You pay a $20 “styling fee” that can be applied to your fix if you keep any items.

Stitch Fix Friday | Domesticated Academic

In the box: my clothing items, a price list and some really nice style cards to help you coordinate outfits with helpful suggestions. The best part: you don’t have to keep any of it if you don’t want too.

I kept one shirt from my first fix and was glad I did. I love that shirt and I never would have tried it on in a store or bought it off an online retailer. I have a few issues w some of the pricing vs the quality of the fabric and construction. I really like that you can sit with the clothes for three days. It gives me time to make sure I’m really going to wear these things and I don’t feel bad that I can’t make a decision within the first thirty seconds. It pushes me to try on things I normally wouldn’t pull and take a little risk with no pressure from bad lighting or inner feelings of guilt that come with any human trying on clothes.

Stitch Fix Friday | Domesticated Academic

There’s proof that they do mark up the clothes in price but that’s how they make their money. I would not have kept the teal shirt had it not been for the $20 off of the styling fee, which made the shirt in my price range/budget. My validation is that there’s not a lot of good shopping here for a professional woman and if someone wants to deliver five nice items to my door and then give me three days to figure out if I will wear them, that’s worth a few extra bucks. While it can be very much about the price, it’s also a really nice convenience thing for me bc I hate shopping in general and everything down here seems to have been attacked by a bedazzler from hell. This also keeps me from browsing otherwise and buying things I don’t really care for or being wasteful with my money.

Total first world problems up in here today…. :P

So, that’s my two cents on Stitch Fix.

Peach Caprese

Peach Caprese | Domesticated Academic

Summer produce cannot be beat. The magic of a perfectly ripened peach is something that is simply divine and an almost religious experience. Paired with some creamy, smooth fresh mozzarella, and the bite of some fresh basil makes peaches my number one summer fruit right now.

Peach Caprese | Domesticated Academic

No matter how food technology improves, there’s nothing better than biting into a ripe, juicy peach or a fresh ear of sweet corn. Tomatoes, cukes, berries, beans, etc…a whole plethora of goods are marching into my door to never come out :P

Peach Caprese | Domesticated Academic

I picked up some beautiful, fresh, fuzzy Virginia peaches on a visit to the farmers market and gave them a few days to ripen on the counter. Once they were firm but not soft, I dug in. Fresh mozzarella, juicy sliced peaches, and basil from my garden made the perfect triple threat. It’s filling enough to serve as the main course, classy enough to serve to company, and light enough for a summer cook out. You can cut everything into chunks for easier serving and Chiffonade basil in right before serving. Adding some olive oil or balsamic vinegar can add a nice level of acidity but it will make it get soggy faster.

You’ll need:
10 min.

  • 2 ripe peaches
    1 1 lb. ball of fresh mozzarella
    5-6 fresh basil leaves
    **optional: olive oil and balsamic vinegar
  1. Slice peaches and remove pit.
  2. Slice thin slices of mozzarella.
  3. Layer together however it makes you happy.
  4. Chiffonade the basil and sprinkle right before serving.
  5. Drizzle with olive oil or balsamic.

Tomato Beet Salad | Domesticated Academic

 

Beet & Tomato Salad

 

 

Balsamic Green Beans With Tomatoes |Domesticated Academic

Balsamic Green Beans with Tomatoes