Homemade Croutons

from Simply Playful Fare


  • 1 loaf of crusty bread (About 4 cups)
  • 1/4 – 1/2 C olive oil
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning or your favorite blend of dried herbs and spices
  • 2 tsp garlic salt


Cut the bread into cubes and add to a medium sized bowl.

Add the olive oil, Italian seasoning, garlic salt and mix well.

Spread the cubes out evenly on a baking sheet.  It doesn’t need to be greased, because the olive oil should prevent the bread from sticking.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 10-15 minutes or until the croutons are done, turning halfway.  You will know they are done when the bread becomes hard and toasty.

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Shaved Brussel Sprout Salad

Recipe courtesy of Miri Plowman

This salad is great as a first course salad, or as an addition to the entrée course.  It is also hearty enough to be eaten as a hearty lunchtime salad. 


  • 1 lb Brussels sprouts, trimmed and thinly shaved on a mandolin
  • 2 pints shiitake mushrooms
  • ½ cup walnuts
  • ½ cup good quality Parmesan, or aged Gouda, shaved into wide wedges if possible
  • 1-2 Tbps Sherry vinegar
  • 2 Tbps butter or olive oil
  • extra olive oil (optional)
  • salt and pepper


Heat butter in a wide bottom cast iron skillet, on medium to high heat. Add whole shiitake mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Saute mushrooms until lightly brown. Add shallot turn down heat and sauté shiitake with shallots for another minute.

Add the walnuts to the pan before the shallots are completely sweated. Stir the mixture regularly for 1-2 minutes; be careful to not let the walnuts burn. Add the shaved brussels and picked thyme to the pan, and turn OFF the heat. Immediately pour in the sherry vinegar and season the mixture with salt and pepper.

Thoroughly combine the ingredients. If the mixture still feels dry, add some extra olive oil to ensure that all of it feels well coated.

At this point incorporate the Parmesan into the salad and serve.

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Cornbread with Caramelized Apples, Onions, and Thyme

Adapted from Bon Appetit via Tea Cup Tea


  • ¾ C plus 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 2 medium onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp kosher salt plus more
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 medium apples, thinly sliced
  • 4 Tbsp sugar, divided
  • 3 tsp fresh thyme leaves, divided
  • 1½ C cornmeal
  • 1 C all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1½ C buttermilk


Preheat oven to 400°. Melt butter in a cast-iron or other heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Pour all but 2 Tbsp. butter into a small bowl; set aside.

Add onion to butter in skillet, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened and beginning to brown, about 4 minutes. Add apples, 2 Tbsp. sugar, and 2 tsp. thyme and cook, stirring often, until apples are softened, about 4 minutes. Transfer onion mixture to a medium bowl and reserve skillet.

Whisk cornmeal, flour, baking powder, 1 tsp. salt, and remaining 2 Tbsp. sugar in a large bowl. Gradually whisk in eggs, buttermilk, and ¾ cup reserved melted butter until smooth (no lumps should remain). Fold in half of onion mixture and scrape batter into reserved skillet. Top with remaining onion mixture and remaining 1 tsp. thyme.

Bake cornbread until golden brown and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 30–40 minutes.

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