In My Kitchen – November 2016

It’s been another crazy month.  I don’t know if it’s just having fall birthdays, Halloween, the cooler weather or what…but autumn is always very busy for us.  This month wasn’t any different.

In the beginning of the month we had my parents visiting.  They came to watch the boys while Josh and I went to Charlotte for the night and then come home and celebrate Jack’s birthday a little early.  Things changed when Hurricane Matthew came to town.  Our night out was cancelled, but we certainly still celebrated Jack’s birthday.

We didn’t suffer any major damage from the hurricane since we are well inland.  Just some heavy rain and high winds at times.  We had a plum tree uprooted which we managed to get up again and staked it do the ground, fingers crossed it stays up and healthy.  The power flickered a few times and went out while I had pumpkin muffins in the oven.  We finished breakfast by candle light.

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One of the benefits of the hurricane was that I FINALLY got two of my pantry doors up.  Who knew it would take a hurricane for that to happen?!  It was last Christmas that Josh “finished” the pantry and we put it in the kitchen.  It was gorgeous and I love having my new pantry.  It didn’t have doors yet though, that is until early October.

Josh had been working on the doors for some time, built completely from scratch and not just in his workshop.  He aged the stainless steel panels in a tote in our bathtub!  Because the hurricane cancelled our weekend plans Josh had a lot more time on his hands and was able to finish one set of doors and put them up.  They are perfect and I love them!!

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And check out the inside of the doors.  I’ve got a place to put my magnetic spice containers!  Josh is a genius, what would I do without him?!  He designed the pantry with my input and one of our wishes was easy spice storage.  I’ll have to go through the spices now that they have a permanent home.  While waiting for the doors to be installed they were on the side of the fridge, near the toaster oven.  The heat clumped some of the spices.  Oh darn, I may have to go spice shopping!

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After the pantry door celebration we had a feast for an early family birthday celebration.   Oma and Opa enjoyed helping Jack celebrate his big day a little early.  Josh smoked a turkey outside all day, the flavor was phenomenal.

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Dessert was easy.  I made a lemon curd {Jack is currently ADDICTED to it}, whipped some cream and then layered it all in jars with crushed up cake.  Gotta love some food upcycling….I had a 6 inch layer of yellow cake from Josh’s birthday and 6 inch layer of carrot cake from Sean’s birthday in the freezer.  The adult dessert jars also had some limoncello drizzled on the cake crumbs.

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I’ve been trying to use up all the pears this month as well.  I haven’t even come close!  It seems like the more I preserve the more pears we have!  This photo doesn’t even include the open jars we have in the fridge.  I’ve made pear cardamom butter, ginger pear butter, pear vanilla jam and pear chocolate jam.  Today I think I’ll make some pear fruit leather, I’m kind of over canning for now…

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Should I have the time and energy to can again, I’ve got this new pectin.  I have a few recipes I want to test out that call for this.

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Then there is this beauty, my new favorite cookbook, Classic German Baking by Luisa Weiss.  I’ve lived in Germany a few times and Austria as well and love all the baked goods there.  I’ve always had problems duplicating them at home though.  Modern cookbooks don’t necessarily have the classic recipes which are usually handed down from one generation to the next.  Bakery items are a whole other issue.

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Struggle no more, Luisa has done all the research and recipe testing for me!  I was drooling reading this book.  It has the items most German cookbooks include such as Sachertorte, black forest cherry cake, marble cake and more.  But it also includes yeast breads, rolls, an entire Christmas chapter and more.

I’ve already made the Nusskuchen which was fantastic, especially with orange dark chocolate chunks added.  It’s a loaf cake made with toasted hazelnuts that you grind up.  I just love hazelnut and chocolate!  The Rosinentopf (minus the raisins) was also incredibly delicious.  This is a sweet braided bread and went well with freshly made pear butter.

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I’ll be baking so much more from Classic German Baking in the near future!  Many of the recipes require these beauties so I had to order more poppy seeds.  My stash was out (I hadn’t replaced them since a previous German cake disaster…oven temp problems and bad poppy seeds, picture it.

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To see what is happening in kitchens across the globe hop on over to Bizzy Lizzy’s Good Things and follow the links to everyone else participating in the In My Kitchen link up.  Thanks again Liz for hosting this wonderful event!

 

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47 thoughts on “In My Kitchen – November 2016

  1. Liz Posmyk of Bizzy Lizzy's Good Things

    Hello there Gretchen, oooooh you have been busy! I love your pantry doors too. And I saw that baking book somewhere else recently. I must check it out, being part Germanic. Thank you for the very kind shout out, and for participating in IMK XX

    Reply
    1. Gretchen Post author

      Thank you for hosting IMK Liz, it’s such a wonderful linkup. The cookbook is fantastic, especially if you have German food memories. I’m sure you’d recognize many of the recipes. The pantry turned out better than I could have ever expected.

      Reply
  2. Veganopoulous

    the cake recycling is such a good idea (and lemon is always a good idea)! They’re the spice jars I want too and when we eventually get our new kitchen I want a panel too so I can put my spices in those same magnetic jars and make a kind of art installation with them. So much better than fishing around in the pantry for spices (and not being able to find the ones I need!)

    Reply
    1. Gretchen Post author

      I have two different spice jars. My smaller ones are glass and I love them. The larger ones are metal and the spices tend to get caught in the ridges if the lids so when you open them a little always spills out, quite annoying. Making an art display would be quite fun with the spice jars! The cake recycling is always a hit!

      Reply
  3. Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial

    Woohoo, you HAVE been busy! Isn’t Josh a treasure – so nice to have a handy hubby – and I love the hole punched pantry doors. How long does it take to smoke a turkey? It seems to take forever to roast one, so I can’t begin to imagine how long it takes to smoke! And I wish I was there to help you with your pear glut! 😉 Happy Birthday, Jack! xxx

    Reply
    1. Gretchen Post author

      I would be lost without my handy engineer hubby! His woodwork is absolutely gorgeous and full of love. The turkey smoked for about 6-7 hours if I remember right, quite delicious. This will be another busy month with Ewan’s birthday only days before Thanksgiving. Then my parents both have December birthdays and finally a break until mine in April.

      Reply
    1. Gretchen Post author

      I was wanting more of the braid bread yesterday on a gloomy day! I was tempted to make it again but just didn’t have the time. The magnetic panels are great looking and functional, complete success.

      Reply
    1. Gretchen Post author

      I’ve seen quite a bit of the book on Instagram since it released two weeks ago. It really is brilliant if you like German baked goods. The turkey was incredibly delicious, I can’t wait to smoke one again.

      Reply
    1. Gretchen Post author

      The lemon curd jar desserts were quite popular, and so easy to throw together! The pantry doors are fantastic and this weekend I might get the other set put on. Mother poor boys won’t know what to do when they can’t stare in the pantry while sitting at the table.

      Reply
    1. Gretchen Post author

      The metal doors are certainly proving to be both gorgeous and functional. The cake in a jar was brilliant, but now I have leftover frosting in the freezer and no cake to go with it!

      Reply
    1. Gretchen Post author

      The magnetic spice jars are great. It’s nice not to have to dig out spices and hunt down each jar now that they are in plain sight. Lemon curd and cake in a jar is wildly popular with my boys any time of year. Thanks for popping by.

      Reply
  4. lambsearsandhoney

    Wow – I love your pantry doors and using them to store the magnetic spice jars is simply inspired! And congratulations on such a clever dessert idea – clearly there’s no food waste in your house.

    Reply
    1. Gretchen Post author

      The magnetic spice jars are fantastic. It certainly comes in handy having cake layers in the freezer. Throwing together a dessert in a jar is so easy with a freezer stash of cake! Of course now I have frosting in the freezer and no cake to go with it…

      Reply
  5. fergie51

    You sound excited and happy in this post! Congratulations on having doors! I have those spice containers too for the frequent use ones which I keep on the fridge. I must say, one of the best things about having a proper kitchen is having things stored so you can put your hands on them. Lemon curd, yum my favourite too and the braid looks lovely. Do you stuff a turkey like that, I reckon it would take a few loaves of bread!

    Reply
    1. Gretchen Post author

      I was so excited to get the pantry doors, I’d been waiting so long. Of course nothing quite like all your extent waiting. This weekend hopefully the other set of doors will get put in. We didn’t stuff the turkey this time, maybe the next time. It certainly would take a lot of bread though!

      Reply
  6. Kim Bultman

    Gretchen, your pantry doors are fabulous and functional. I’d never heard of “aging” steel, let alone in a bathtub. What a terrific job your hubby did making them, and you, utilizing them with your magnetic spice jars. Your pear & vanilla preserves sound SO delicious (I won’t even begin to talk about your chocolate combo… ahem) and I’m SOOOO thankful you came thru “Matthew” okay. Nothing like throwing a hurricane, power outages, birthday parties, smoked turkey, cabinetry, and German baked goods into the mix. You lead a wonderfully full life! Thanks for sharing your kitchen, xo.

    Reply
    1. Gretchen Post author

      Thanks Kim. I’m loving the new pantry and spent last night clearing out the old one so it can finally be a hall closet again! The pear preserves are great but canning gets old fast for me. I’ve been making pear leather with the last of the pears, no more standing over a hot stove. Thanks for peeking in our kitchen.

      Reply
  7. Maggie

    Love the doors, Gretchen! And so handy for your spice jars! No, wonder you are over canning…that looks like tons! Hope you and the boys are keeping well! x

    Reply
    1. Gretchen Post author

      Thanks Maggie! The doors are indeed great. I’ve been making pear leather with the last I’d the pears since I’m done canning! Thanks for popping by.

      Reply
    1. Gretchen Post author

      Thanks! The pantry doors are fantastic. Yes, it was quite a bit of pear canning, glad it’s finally done. I just made another recipe from Classic German Baking and it was great, love that book!

      Reply
  8. Liz @ spades, spatulas, and spoons

    What a busy month you have had! Glad the hurricane didn’t do much damage and hope your tree survives. I love everything, the new pantry doors, all the preserves, the cake (especially the loaf with orange chocolate, oh my!). Thank you for giving me a peek into your month.

    Reply
    1. Gretchen Post author

      The loaf cake with orange chocolate was fantastic! I love my pantry, so glad to be better organized again. Maybe by the new year things will slow down. First we need to get through any other birthday, Thanksgiving and Christmas!

      Reply
  9. sherry

    that lemon curd dessert looks tops! and i adore those cute jars. someone else put up photos of the jars too recently. they must be popular in blogland:) love your pantry doors- clever hubby you have. mine used to be a wonderful maker of things too before he became disabled.
    glad you survived the hurricane. did you hear about the earthquake in New Zealand? what a year this is being for the whole world.

    Reply
    1. Gretchen Post author

      It has been a strange year for natural disasters. Earthquakes in NZ and Italy, hurricanes here, tsunamis… The lemon curd desserts in a jar are extremely well received with my boys! I also make one with gingerbread cake and orange or lemon curd around the holidays. Hubby is extremely handy and I am lucky to have him built our family such beautiful pieces.

      Reply
  10. Shaheen

    Gretchen, your pantry doors are absolutely stunning and purposeful too. Anything made by hand is made with love x and I adore how the spice jars magnetically cling too. Fabulous, really. I have really enjoyed peeping into your kitchen even though its a bit late

    Reply
    1. Gretchen Post author

      Thank you Shaheen and it’s never too late. I’m lucky to get through all the IMK posts by the middle of the month, usually it’s later. The pantry is beautiful in the kitchen, right now I’m standing the table top near it and soon it will be a lovely pop of color.

      Reply
  11. Kari @ bite-sized thoughts

    I am in love with your pantry doors! One day we will redo our kitchen and I will be back here for door inspiration 🙂 I am also in love with those pear jars – what delicious flavour mixes and so nice to have stored away.

    Enjoy the rest of your autumn, hopefully hurricane free!

    Reply
    1. Gretchen Post author

      I love having all our homemade preserves to get us through the winter. We did blueberries and strawberries in the summer and recently the pears. The pantry is fantastic! Good luck getting your kitchen reno someday. Over the years we did new countertops, new appliance and now the pantry. Unfortunately there isn’t really any way to rearrange the cupboards which I don’t care for. Oh well, you can’t have everything.

      Reply

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