In My Kitchen – September 2016

What a crazy month it has been.  Once again time has flown by so quickly, I can’t believe it is already the beginning of another month.  That brings us to another In My Kitchen post, with Maureen over at Orgasmic Chef hosting this monthly roundup as she continues to heal from back surgery.

In our house August was all about back to school.  Okay, maybe it was more exciting for me than the kids!  This year was our second annual trip to the mountains the last weekend before school starts.  We stayed with Oma and Opa and also went camping for one night.

So in our outdoor kitchen we made grits with smoked sausage, zucchini and onions.  It’s always a challenge coming up with a dinner to cook over a camp stove that will handle being packed in a backpack and staying there for over six hours while we hike and setup camp.  We stepped up our game this time by also packing a box of wine, best thing invented ever (so maybe that’s an exaggeration, but boy did it make the trip better).

Camp Dinner

The best part about hiking that time of year is that the blackberries and blueberries are in season.  We nibbled along the way and picked some for a special dessert.  We weren’t the only ones enjoying the berries though…Josh pointed out some bear poop full of blueberries to the boys which amazed them!  We enjoyed our blueberries in a “camp cake” made simply with lemon poppy seed muffin mix, powdered milk and water (again, you can’t pack everything to bake from scratch).

Camp Cake

After a fun weekend in the mountains we had only two days until school started.  We packed in a trip to the zoo and some other fun as well.  Then it was off they went, this year all three boys in the same school (Kindergarten, 2nd grade and 3rd grade).

With all the quiet time I have now I can get things done so much easier.  Of course this big milestone was also worth a little celebration, which in turn means a special drink.  This Elderflower Limoncello Prosecco hit the spot.  It’s also great for brunch.

Elderflower Limoncello Prosecco

Back to school also means packing lunches again.  Now I’ve got to pack three school lunches nice and early in the morning, plus one for Josh to take to work if I have something leftover for him.  The first day of school Sean was up bright and early to help me make lunches long before the sun gets up.

Mommy's Helper

The first day they enjoyed a sandwich, carrot sticks, jalapeno hummus and vanilla pudding.  All made special with love notes on the chalk topped pudding jars of course!

School Lunch

Last and certainly not least, we had elderberries in our kitchen last month.  While we picked many of the elderflowers to infuse gin and vodka, we still got plenty of berries to harvest.  This large bowl was used to make elderberry simple syrup, great in cocktails and mocktails.  Apparently it also has many health benefits so I’ll be sure to have some should we suffer this cold and flu season.  I also have a large jar of the berries soaking in gin, it should be ready in a couple months, just in time for a special Thanksgiving cocktail?!  The plan was to pick the rest of the berries today and put them with peaches in a crisp, Tropical Storm Hermine had other plans though.


So that’s a glimpse of what’s been happening in our kitchen this month.  While summer may be winding down based on the calendar it is still rather hot here.  I have a couple small tomato plants going and hope to get a second growing season in before it cools off.  The pumpkins are also starting to grow a little so I can tell autumn is around the corner.  What is happening in your kitchen?


12 thoughts on “In My Kitchen – September 2016

  1. Karen

    It sounds like you finished off summer vacation in a really fun way. Like seeing how you pack the boys lunch…certainly keeps everything nice and fresh.

    1. Gretchen Post author

      It is a task packing all the lunches in the mor isn’t, but so worth it knowing they have good homemade food. Soon it will be my favorite season…leftover soups and stews and casseroles are so easy to pack in a thermos!

  2. fergie51

    What a great family coming experience. I think you can thank us Aussies for inventing the wine cask, we always find a way to ensure a drink can be had! Great to see such health and waste free lunches. Never seem to get berries on our elderflower, lots of flowers though.

    1. Gretchen Post author

      I certainly will than the Aussies for wine in a box. After that camping trip I found a refillable wine pouch which will hold a 750ml bottle which is even better. At least you get the elder flowers, frankly I think I prefer them soaked in liqueur as opposed to the elderberries.

  3. ChgoJohn

    Now that’s the way to end summer. A nice vacation and a camping trip. Not only did your boys have a great time but you gave them plenty to write about in their “What I did on my summer vacation” paper. With the material so fresh in their minds, those essays should be a breeze. Thanks, Mom. 🙂

  4. Liz

    You always have so a great time, outdoors. The grits, smoked sausage meal looks delicious. And I love the idea of packing healthy lunches. Have a great week!


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