Apple Cider Chess Pie (& roommates)

I had chess pie for the first time when a former roommate of mine made it in South Carolina. It’s a southern staple – essentially a custard pie thickened slightly with cornmeal.

Apple Cider Chess Pie Recipe

Now, I’ll be honest, I wasn’t a huge fan of the pie the first go round. I wasn’t really a fan of my roommate, either. Not because he wasn’t a great person & friend – he was! I just don’t like roommates very much. Of any kind.

Apple Cider Chess Pie Recipe

So far, Seth has remained the exception. I like hanging out with him, I’m relaxed and totally myself when he’s home, and my hair hasn’t started falling out from stress (as it has with previous roommates).

Apple Cider Chess Pie Recipe

It certainly helps that he is a willing and enthusiastic taste tester. I’m learning how to gauge his reactions to a recipe rather quickly now. I can tell whether he likes something without any words, simply by reading his body language and facial expressions.

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Butter Rubbed Roast Chicken (& dinners)

I’m currently sitting in a Chicago coffee shop after a night spent enjoying lasagna and red velvet cake with friends. I made the drive down yesterday – something I haven’t done in the better part of a year.

Butter Rubbed Roast Chicken

Before leaving, I did something else I hadn’t in ages – roasted a chicken! I used to do this fairly regularly, roasting it one day to eat off of for the week. Not rocket science or even an entirely new idea, but genius nonetheless.

One of the biggest struggles I’ve discovered in living with someone and in working from home is what the heck do we eat?! Seth is a big, Midwestern guy with a big, Midwestern appetite. He likes meat and potatoes with a side of meat and potatoes. Whereas I, on the other hand, ate the same salad every day behind the bar for nearly two years. We only get a few dinners together per week, so I feel the desire to make sure we eat good meals when we have the opportunity to share them.  

Butter Rubbed Roast Chicken
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Pan Roasted Veggies (& ease)

This is one of those “Not-A-Recipe-Recipes.” There’s not a ton of prep involved, it doesn’t require any special equipment, and it’s entirely customizable to suit individual tastes!

Pan Roasted Vegetables | Midwest Nice

It’s also one of the most delicious non-recipes ever. It’s my favorite way to get the appropriate serving of veggies in the colder months with the least amount of work possible. What could be better?!

Pan Roasted Vegetables | Midwest Nice
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Chicken & Veggie Stir Fry (& planning)

I bought a planner. It’s pink with gold embossing and a thin ribbon to mark the page. It’s got a monthly overview and a weekly to-do. Very chic, very millennial.

I also got the color-coded pens – blue, black, red, green, pink, orange. All assigned to a specific sector of my life – finance, work, Ernessi, social.

It’s my hope/belief/misguided delusion that by making lists and filling out schedules and trying to be a better planner that I will somehow get my life in order.

And yet…I’ve missed weeks, I’ve missed paying bills, I’ve missed opportunities to get posts up in a timely manner.

There’s a small bit of solace in knowing that this isn’t uncommon for creative types. There’s some reassurance that my spastic scheduling and mediocre time management are byproducts of the artistic juices flowing through my veins! See? It’s not that I’m a bad person – I’m a great person – I just didn’t respond to an email for two weeks because I’m an artiste! I can’t help it, it’s how I’m wired. I can’t be expected to create masterpieces under the shackles of a schedule!

At least, that’s what I tell myself so I don’t dissolve into a heap of tears over not meeting the actual deadlines created by credit card companies or the personal ones I’ve set for myself. In reality, I know it’s a load of bull and I have to really commit to and work on sticking to a schedule if I’m ever going to get where I want to be, doing what I want to be doing.

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Sparkling Cider Sangria (& a Thanksgiving Recipe Round-Up)

Our turkey was delivered via the USPS today. I came home from baking pie at my aunt’s house and there it was – just sitting on the stoop. Ready and waiting. Easy as that.

Sparkling Cider Sangria via Midwest Nice Blog

Is your turkey taken care of? What about sides? Desserts? I’ve got plenty of ideas (and one more post to share) if you need a little something sweet to finish off your meal Thursday.

Everyone loves pie. Try my perfect pie crust with your favorite fillings! Not sure what to put in the pie crust? Maybe some bourbon coated pecans? Or apples? When you have leftovers – turn them into a shake! Or throw some pie crust into ice cream and have yourself a semifreddo.

More of a cake person? This caramel apple cake is a show stopper. Or this sweet potato cake (with toasted marshmallow frosting!!!) that turns a much beloved side into an even better dessert! A bundt cake filled with brandy and pears is just as beautiful and delicious (and a touch easier/quicker) as any layer cake. Does cheesecake count as cake? Does this butternut squash cheesecake count as a vegetable dish? Let’s say it does.

Believe it or not, I have actually made some vegetable recipes before! And I’ll be making my famous bacon braised Brussels sprouts for the festivities like I do every year. And then eating this salad to detox the rest of the weekend.

The cider will be flowing at dinner, after steeping with mulling spices for over 24 hours. If you need a drink to please a crowd, try this easy sangria I made a few weeks ago. It’s to die for!

Sparkling Cider Sangria via Midwest Nice Blog

Sparkling Cider Sangria 

1 bottle dry red wine – I like a nice cabernet

2 bottles sparkling cider

1/4 cup bourbon

1/4 cup Grand Marnier

1/4 cup orange juice

juice of one lemon

1 apple, thinly sliced

1 pear, thinly sliced

1 orange, thinly sliced

3 cinnamon sticks

Pour all liquid into a large pitcher and stir in fruit and cinnamon sticks. Allow to steep in fridge for at least four hours, preferably overnight. Serve chilled with extra fruit and garnish with cinnamon sticks, if desired.

*inspired by Sally’s Baking Addiction

Sparkling Cider Sangria via Midwest Nice Blog