The Best Soup

Last modified on 2012-09-14 17:59:54 GMT. 1 comment. Top.

Happy Friday friends!

It’s a little cooler ’round these parts so last night when I took dinner to my mom and stepfather’s house,  I took soup and bread.

Both told me it was the best soup they’ve ever eaten.

I have my suspicions that this opinion of theirs has something to do with the fact that my mom recently had surgery and so her taste-buds are still somewhat affected by the drugs and my stepdad just spent hours on the mower after working a full day so might have been so hungry that he would have eaten a rubber hose for dinner if someone had presented it to him.

Regardless, I’m so glad that they enjoyed it.

Maybe you will too!

It was good.


Wild Rice, Butternut Squash, and Cannellini Stew


Photo by Leigh Beisch

If you happen to make this soup and think it’s the best you’ve ever had, I’d like to know.

Hope you have a great weekend.

Frozen Herbs

Last modified on 2012-07-05 15:17:25 GMT. 2 comments. Top.

Wish I had an original thought to post.

But I don’t.

Instead, I found what I think will be good and useful information for you.

I’m totally going to try this at home.

Click on the article title to read the article.

From The Kitchn,


Freeze & Preserve Fresh Herbs in Olive Oil



Happy Thursday,  friends.

Meal Plan – 14

Last modified on 2012-04-19 14:16:49 GMT. 1 comment. Top.

It’s been way too long since I’ve used a meal plan and I’m ready to jump back on the meal plan wagon.

I also took a break from my BS Project but am ready to dive back in. Stay tuned for BS updates.

Would love to hear if you try any of these.

You might note that these recipes seem fairly healthy and/or light. That’s on purpose. :)

This week’s meal plan features recipes by Giada De Laurentiis from her cookbook, Giada’s Family Dinners.

One of the very few cookbooks I own.


Click on the recipe title to be redirected to the recipe.

Swordfish Spiedini (kebobs)



Orzo with Garbanzo Beans, Red Onions, Basil, & Mint


Photo by KL


Tuna and Artichoke Panini


Going to follow one of Giada’s suggestions on this one and put the mixture over salad greens instead of making it in to a panini.


Photo by: Mark Shapiro

Roasted Beet & Arugula Salad with

Goat Cheese & Avocado


Grilled Chicken with Basil Dressing



Broiled Salmon with Garlic, Mustard, and Herbs


Photo by The Cake Chica

Will have the artichokes with the salmon above.

 Grilled Artichokes with Parsley and Garlic




Disclaimer:  I don’t have a plan for every night of the week and I’m not including side dishes lest you think I don’t eat vegetables. I love vegetables. Except for brussel sprouts. I hate those things.

Vegan Dinners

Last modified on 2012-03-19 14:22:27 GMT. 3 comments. Top.

Happy Monday Friends!

Saw this post this morning on The Kitchn and thought a number of my friends might appreciate these 15 vegan dinner ideas.

15 Vegan Dinner Recipes


Potato Tacos


(Image: Kathryn Hill)


Pumpkin Tortilla Soup


(Image: Emily Ho)

Click here to view the entire article and all of the 15 recipes.


Dinner – 2 Nights

Last modified on 2012-02-16 17:00:55 GMT. 3 comments. Top.

I tend to not buy cookbooks. I’ve talked about this before. Usually when I purchase a cookbook I’ll only end up making and/or liking 3-4 recipes max from it. Plus cookbooks take up precious cabinet space.

Recently while shopping with my husband he found, and thought I would like, a box set of recipes from the magazine Real Simple. The box set of recipes was on uber- clearance so we bought it. I figured if we didn’t like any of the recipes it would be easy to re-gift or give to Goodwill and we’d only be out about 3 bucks.

Here it is

Real Simple: Meals Made Easy


There are 7 sections of recipes printed on heavy cardstock that include one-pot meals, no-shop meals, and freezer meals.

Since the recipes are printed individually on cardstock, I’ll keep the ones we like and add them to my recipe binder system and get rid of the recipes we don’t like. That way we won’t have to keep the original box they all came in.

As I was looking through and deciding which recipes to try I remembered my recent post about soda and wanting to make better, healthier choices.

You will note that the first recipe we tried below does not represent a healthy choice but we just had to try it.

Waffle Grilled Cheese

Uh, it was tasty but completely unhealthy and we both felt a little grossed out after eating it.

Last night, I made this for dinner

Roast Salmon and Vegetables


This was delicious and healthy! Score!

Next to try is roast cod with crispy potatoes. mmmmm

So glad the hubster found this box of recipe goodies!

Soon I’ll have another brussels sprout recipe for ya.




Hot & Spicy

Last modified on 2012-01-20 23:19:50 GMT. 3 comments. Top.

Had dinner with friends last night and one topic of discussion was hot and spicy food.

Please weigh in by leaving your answers to the following in the comments section:

Do you like hot and/or spicy food?

If you do, what foods do you like to use it on?

What’s your favorite brand or type of hot sauce?

Sriracha hot sauce was the sauce of choice amongst one of our friends last night.

While looking at one of my favorite blogs I noticed this article,

25 Ways to Use Sriracha

Here are a couple of  ideas from the article.

Sriracha Garlic Bread

Whisk Sriracha, minced garlic, and melted butter in a small bowl; brush over cut sides of bread. Sprinkle with grated Pecorino or Parmesan and broil until toasted.

Sriracha Deviled Eggs

Mash the yolks of halved hard-boiled eggs with mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, Sriracha, minced celery, and fresh chives; spoon into egg whites and garnish with celery leaves.


Then I found this book.

Double mmmmm.

My husband and I enjoy different kinds of hot sauce on different kinds of food.

Sriracha on eggs.

Cholula on pizza.

What about making your own hot sauce?

From The New York Times, Playing with Fire – Hot Sauce Recipes.

I like this idea, you control the heat level and the seasonings.

Turns out hot sauce has some health benefits as well.

There’s More to Hot Sauce Than Just Heat by Dr. Gupta on

I think it would be fun to have a hot sauce tasting.

Happy Friday. Here’s to adding some spice to your life!

Food Everyday – M.S. Style

Last modified on 2011-08-10 16:41:02 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

I’m a sucker.

I can admit it.

I received an ad for the Martha Stewart Living Magazine and Everyday Food Magazine subscription for a total of $10 (included both magazines for that 10 bucks) and if I responded within 10 days of receiving that ad I would also receive a free canvas tote.

A free tote?!

$10 for two magazines, one that’s all recipes?!

Sign me up!

A few month’s have passed since the first issues of the two magazines started arriving. The M.S. Living doesn’t really excite me but I do like looking at the pictures.

The Everyday Food Magazine is pretty dang cool. I’m pretty sure I subscribed to it before a few years ago but didn’t like it.

I’m totally digging it now.

Here’s this month’s cover,

Notice all the ripped out pages?

That’s what I do with magazines.

I rip out the recipes I like, try them, and if I (and the husband) like them they go in to my recipe binders.

That way I don’t have to keep the whole magazine.

Here are a few of the recipes I ripped out last night that we’ll be trying in the upcoming weeks.

Sausage and Rice Stuffed Peppers



Grilled Honey-Mustard Chicken with Onions and Spinach Salad



Shrimp Rolls with Smoked Paprika Remoulade

I’ve wanted to try a lobster roll for a long time but haven’t been anywhere that the dish has been offered or sold. Plus lobster is too expensive for me to try to make a lobster roll myself. This shrimp roll seems a safer bet to start out with.


Harvest Vegetable Pancake with Greens and Goat Cheese

The husband is NOT excited about this one but I’m going to make it. He doesn’t have to eat it!


Plum Blueberry Upside down Cake

I don’t really plan on making this although is does sound. I mainly just liked the picture.

In addition to the recipes, the magazine offers a section called, Bites.

Remember my request for a tiffin box?

If not, you’ll just have to look it up here in the search box.

Anyhoo, friend Keri recently gifted me a tiffin box!!

Woohoo! Thanks Keri!

In the Bites section, a few lunch boxes were featured  including a tiffin box!

Here’s the one Keri gave me.

Cute, huh?


I really couldn’t believe that asking for something on my blog would mean that I would actually receive it.

If that’s how it works then…..

I’d really like some new shoes. Both athletic and dressy.

New dining room and living room furniture would be great.

Italy has been calling my name for quite some time now.

The non-stick coating on our pots and pans is starting to come off so, I could really use some new pots and pans.

New bedding would be great.

Contact me if you need my sizes or address or any further details.

Happy Wednesday!

Meal Plan – 13

Last modified on 2011-08-02 15:32:29 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

Happy August!

Click on the title of the recipe to be redirected to the recipe.

Pasta Al Pomodoro



Szechwan Shrimp

Serve with rice.


Grilled Cheese and Fried Egg Sandwich



Farmers’ Market Salad with Spiced Goat Cheese Rounds



Egg Rolls

Me thinks you could just purchase the dry cole slaw mix instead of shredding the cabbage and carrots.



Enjoy. :)

Disclaimer:  I don’t have a plan for every night of the week and I’m not including side dishes lest you think I don’t eat vegetables. I love vegetables. Except for brussel sprouts. I hate those things.


Slow-Cooker Cheesecake

Last modified on 2011-07-06 13:02:57 GMT. 2 comments. Top.


Yes, you read correctly.

Slow-cooker cheesecake!

Growing up I would ask for cheesecake for my birthday every year and every year my mom would make it for me.

Thing is,  I didn’t understand the difference between the baked, silky, firm, delicious cheesecake that she made me and the Jell-O no-bake cheesecake out of the box.

In my ignorance and youth I was asking for the no-bake cheesecake.

The irony of this and my general feelings about Jell-O are not lost on me but whatever.



Instead, my mom, being a seasoned and talented chef, continued making me baked cheesecake year after year.


And year after year I didn’t have the heart to tell her she was over-baking my birthday cheesecake.

Sorry mom.

I get it now.

Once I figured it out and told her she just laughed and said, “I wish I would have known! The no-bake is much easier!”

Cheesecake is my most favorite dessert and the slow-cooker recipe below spoke to me since I wouldn’t have to turn on the oven in the summer.

Thank you Food & Wine magazine.

Thank you.

Slow-Cooker Sour Cream Cheesecake.



Meal Plan – 13

Last modified on 2011-06-08 11:33:01 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

I can’t get this song out of my head thanks to Carrie J.

Grrrr…thanks A LOT Carrie! 😉

Here’s next week’s meal plan.

It’s waaay to hot to turn on the oven in my house so these are all no-bake, grill, or slow cooker recipes.

Click on the recipe title to be redirected to the recipe.

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork


Polenta Stack with Navy Bean Salad



Thai Chicken Tacos



Grilled Sirloin with Coffee Bean-Peppercorn Crust


Photo from The Capitol Grille

Portobello Burgers with Pesto, Provolone, and Roasted Peppers


Cheesy Italian Tortellini



Disclaimer:  I don’t have a plan for every night of the week and I’m not including side dishes lest you think I don’t eat vegetables. I love vegetables. Except for brussel sprouts. I hate those things.

Meal Plan – 12

Last modified on 2011-05-27 12:13:25 GMT. 2 comments. Top.

Yessss….the return of the meal plan.

We’ve been living off of left over catering from my job long enough!

I recently subscribed to and received the Martha Stewart Everyday Food magazine.

This meal plan will feature recipes from the magazine (previous issues).

Click on the recipe title to be redirected to the recipe.

Bison Burger

I don’t even know if I can get bison in my small town. If not, we’ll try the Cheddar-Horseradish Burger.



Baked Penne with Chicken and Sun-Dried Tomatoes



Martha’s Favorite Egg Salad Sandwich



Greek Salad with Chickpeas



Chorizo and Red Pepper Quesadillas



Disclaimer:  I don’t have a plan for every night of the week and I’m not including side dishes lest you think I don’t eat vegetables. I love vegetables. Except for brussel sprouts. I hate those things.

Happy Memorial Day

Mini Chicken n’ Waffle Appetizers

Last modified on 2011-05-19 17:38:33 GMT. 2 comments. Top.

I’m just not sure about this.

Mini Chicken n’ Waffle Appetizers


Have you had chicken and waffles?

The syrup is really weirding me out.

Seriously, is it any good?

Enjoy Cupcakes

Last modified on 2011-05-14 02:49:45 GMT. 2 comments. Top.

Today my graduating from nursing school friend Angela took me to the most magical place…IN THE WORLD.

Saarloos & Sons Winery in Los Olivos, California.

This particular winery offers wine samples paired with, get this, mini-cupcakes.

Yes, you read correctly.

Two of my favorite things together, under the same roof.

We didn’t end up tasting the wine because we’d already been to a different winery tasting but instead just picked up some cupcakes.

Enjoy Cupcakes makes and sells their bite sized cupcakes infused with the Saarloos & Sons wines.



The middle picture above shows the cupcake counter in the wine tasting room.

You can choose one or two to try OR order “The Flight” which is one of each of the featured flavors.

Of course I ordered The Fight.

Below is this week’s cupcake menu.

The menu, except for the constant Chocolate Blackberry Syrah, changes weekly.



When you order The Flight this is what your order looks like.



Cute, huh?

Six mini-cupcakes gently placed in to an egg carton for safe travel.



Here’s the chocolate blackberry syrah.



Each cupcake was topped with icing and filled with a flavored mousse.



Chili Mango – Vanilla bean cupcake filled with chili mango curd, topped with mango frosting.

This was one of my favorites.





Blueberry Chardonnay – Chardonnay cake, filled with blueberries & cream, topped with lemon frosting & sugared blueberry.

I didn’t like this one. The cake tasted weird.




What a fun treat.

Next time I’m out this way it would be fun to try the wine with the cupcakes.

Hope you are having a great weekend.

I sure am.

Creme Brulee French Toast

Last modified on 2011-05-11 11:46:04 GMT. 10 comments. Top.

Uh yeah.

I’m pretty sure I’m gonna make this when I get home from vacation.

And I’m pretty sure I’m gonna invite some people over to try it with me.


Creme Brulee French Toast


Oh, and if you didn’t catch it above I’m going on vacation for some rest and relaxation and to celebrate my friend’s graduation from nursing school.

See you next week!

To: Brussel Sprouts

Last modified on 2011-05-05 14:48:31 GMT. 13 comments. Top.

Dear Brussel Sprouts,

O sprout of brainly shape.

Your awkward growth upon a stalk.

If starving, you I would never pick.

Wretched is the thought of you.

Drenched in butter,  deep fried, or mashed.

Even your health benefits don’t persuade.

Your consumption is torture.

Your taste repulsive.

You’ve brainwashed your followers.

You tricky, icky, little thing.

Withholding Love,



For all of you weird brussel sprout lovers please see below.

Click on the recipe title to be re-directed to the recipe.


Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Sesame Miso Dressing


Bacon Brown Sugar Brussel Sprouts


Shredded Brussel Sprouts with Apples


Brussel Sprout Stew


Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Pecans

Cauliflower and Brussel Sprout Gratin

Steamed Brussel Sprouts


Finally, I’ll end with this little ditty I found while looking for recipes.



That’s right sweetie.

Everybody does hate you.

Now I don’t EVER want to talk about this again!


Weekend Stuff

Last modified on 2011-05-03 12:13:29 GMT. 5 comments. Top.

Happy Tuesday!

Hope you had a nice weekend.

I sure did.

Friday night we met some friends at 9 Irish Brothers for some good times and good food. One of our friends, Elisha, wanted to try an Irish Car Bomb so she ordered one and so did my husband and another member of our group, Sam.

Here’s the video of the three of them. Good job Elisha!

Uh, wait.

I can’t figure out how to upload a video from my phone!

Well, you’re gonna just have to trust me that they all did it and it was impressive.

THEN I heard from a friend that a local grocery store had….drum-roll please……RHUBARB!

So I went and bought all they had. mwahahaha

Hello beautiful.




Guess what I’m made last night?



That’s right. Strawberry rhubarb pie. The recipe above is my favorite.


P.S. Thanks to Jan W. for my first taste of rhubarb this season!

Mason Jar Desserts

Last modified on 2011-04-28 12:21:10 GMT. 5 comments. Top.

Apparently there’s a big trend right now baking and serving desserts in mason jars.

I look at quite a few food websites and blogs and honestly, I’ve not noticed this “trend”.

That said, I’m happy to jump on the mason jar bandwagon!

I’ve served margaritas in mason jars.

I use mason jars to hold silverware when we have a group of people over for a casual dinner party.

Photo from

Mason jars make great vases.

I’ve sent leftovers home with guests in mason jars.

I love me some mason jars!

We’ve all seen the pre-mix mason jar gifts. A brownie mix in a mason jar or a soup mix.

That’s not what I’m talking about or what the article I saw this morning was referring to.

Here’s the article (love the title):

5 Reasons Why Desserts in Jars Are the Schizzle-Dizzle


From the blog, How Sweet It Is, which by the way also came a recipe for Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cinnamon Rolls that I made last weekend, comes a recipe for these awesome looking S’Mores Cakes in mason jars.

I’m pretty sure I’m going to need to try this out this weekend.

Meal Planning Gift Set

Last modified on 2011-04-20 15:04:55 GMT. 7 comments. Top.

OK, so if you’ve read my blog for very long at all you’ll know that in order to save money and actually have the items in my kitchen I need to make a meal out of, I need a weekly meal plan.

I’ve not posted a meal plan for weeks and weeks…well….because I haven’t made a meal plan for weeks and weeks.

Here’s what happens when I don’t have a meal plan: Last night my dinner consisted of two fish sticks (that’s all that was left in the box that was in my freezer), four stuffed olives, and two asparagus stalks I had just picked from my garden.

Anyhoo, this morning I saw the cutest little item on The Kitchn and wanted to share it with you.

The Small Object’s Meal Planning Gift Set.


The set includes a notebook with room for 52 meal plans.

That’s a whole year’s worth of weekly meal planning!

Plus a pencil and some bookmarks.



All for $22. Not too bad!

Awesomeness.  Pure awesomeness.


Jalapeno Popper Grilled Cheese

Last modified on 2011-04-15 11:50:49 GMT. 1 comment. Top.

Yes, you read correctly.

As I was drooling over images at TasteSpotting I saw a recipe for jalapeno popper grilled cheese.

I couldn’t pass that one up.

I didn’t really follow the directions of the recipe but what I did do was make a friggin awesome grilled cheese sandwich!


Thinly sliced sourdough bread.

Butter the outsides of two pieces of bread.

Slather softened cream cheese, slices of monty jack cheese, and sliced or diced jalapenos on the inside of one piece of the bread.

Place the loaded piece of bread, butter side down, on a griddle on low heat. Top with other piece of bread, butter side out.

Flip when first side is nicely grilled and cheese is melty and grill the other side to desire doneness.

Remove from grill and enjoy!

Next time I make this I will add lots more of everything. More cream cheese, more monty jack cheese, and more jalapenos. I went fairly light with it all since I hadn’t made it before but I’m feeling much more confident about it now.

Please make this and tell me what you think.


Last modified on 2011-04-08 18:06:17 GMT. 11 comments. Top.

I’m gonna freak out if I don’t have some rhubarb this year.

Didn’t get any last year because my silly small town didn’t carry it in any of the grocery stores and I kept forgetting to go to the farmer’s market on Saturday mornings.

There’s no one to blame but myself I realize.


I even tried to grow it but the two plants we planted are now lost forever in the abyss of weeds where our garden once stood.

I will not deny myself this year!

I WILL make strawberry rhubarb pie!


I WILL make rhubarb cheesecake!


I WILL make another strawberry rhubarb pie!



I WILL make strawberry rhubarb jam and give it as gifts!

That is all.

Happy Friday.

Research Assignment for You:Triple Chocolate Bundt Cake

Last modified on 2011-03-29 13:14:55 GMT. 9 comments. Top.

I’m doing a bit of research and  have a little assignment for you.

Below is a picture of a Triple Chocolate Bundt Cake.

It calls to me.

I crave it.

I need it.

Chocolate cake with chocolate chunks baked in the batter, string iced with milk and dark chocolate, and shaved chocolate curls on top.

Please go to your local Sam’s Club and purchase one of these cakes.

DO NOT look at the nutritional facts. Just trust me on this one.

Taste just a small piece then don’t have any more for the rest of the day.

Then tell me if you start to feel it calling to you in the night.

Speaking your name throughout the next day until you can’t take it anymore and must have another piece.

Please report back on your findings.

Thank you.

Recipe Storage

Last modified on 2011-03-07 14:30:53 GMT. 5 comments. Top.


Yesterday while perusing a few of my favorite blogs I noticed a theme, recipe storage.

I’d like to chime in.

For the most part I’m a fairly organized person and this organization applies to my recipes as well.

I’m not a huge fan of cookbooks because inevitably there will be very few recipes that I really like and will make more than once or twice. Cookbooks are big and bulky, hard to keep open to the page you want, and get dirty easily. I have limited cabinet space so storage is an issue for me too. Don’t get me wrong though. I love reading them and the few that I do have I really, really like.

I’m also not a huge fan of the recipe card. I don’t want to have to flip through a small box of recipes to find what I want. Then because they’re small and I have large handwriting I end up using two or three cards per recipe making them even less useful.

Thankfully, as a wedding gift, my friend Kayla gave me a binder with some of her favorite and family recipes in it. Each recipe was printed on a piece of 8 1/2 x 11 paper and placed in to a clear plastic sleeve.


While I don’t have that original binder from Kayla, I did keep the letter she wrote to us that was included with her gift.

Since receiving that first binder I’ve expanded my collection of recipes and now have 4 binders filled to the brim.

The recipes in my binders are my favorites.

Some I’ve printed from online sources, some are handwritten from my mother-in-law and grandmother, some are ripped from magazines. All are safely protected by a cheap plastic sleeve that I can easily wipe clean after each use.

As you can see above I failed to put this recipe in a plastic sleeve before using it a time or two.

A page I ripped out of a magazine and the recipe for the Cabernet-Braised Short Ribs (can’t believe I’m giving this out) is a-mazing.

My mother-in-law gave my husband a binder of her recipes when he moved out on his own and we’ve kept them all.

The binders I use are square and close completely with little tabs and so store easily. I bought them about seven years ago and haven’t seen them anywhere in stores or online since. Bummer.

How do you store your recipes?



Soup’s On Party

Last modified on 2011-03-02 13:21:25 GMT. 7 comments. Top.

A big success!

Saturday night was the Soup’s On party and what a great time we had!

Thanks to all who made the trek out to our house.

I wanted to have a soup party for two reasons.

1. I wanted to get together with other soup lovers, like myself, and enjoy good soup with good friends.

2. I wanted to see what would happen and who would come by just posting an invitation on my blog.

All in all I was pleased with the outcome. I had a great time and received great feedback and am looking forward to having another blog invitational. Maybe in the spring.

Any suggestions for themes?

The soups I served and links to the recipes are below.

I asked my guests to rate which soup they liked the best and there was  an overwhelming response to one of the soups. More info on which one below.

Confession: I need to figure out a way to host a party and take pictures.

I realized two hours in to the soup party that I wasn’t taking any pictures.


I ran and got my camera but by that point people had tasted all the soups and there was food everywhere (read: not picture pretty) and people were starting to scatter and chat in different areas of the house.


Any ideas for how I can host AND take pictures of the event?

Here are the few pictures I did manage to get.

Below is a little scorecard I handed out.

Notice I didn’t have a column for “Didn’t Like It”. :)

Guests ended up rating the soups 1-4. One being their favorite, four their least favorite.

Why 1-4 when there are five soups listed, you ask?

I didn’t have time to make the fifth soup.


The results:

4. Salmon Chowder (I made quite a few changes to recipe but I based it off of Sara Moulton’s recipe linked here)- most guests that tried it liked it but didn’t love it.

3. Chicken and Wild Rice (recipe courtesy of Beth Gibson) – comments were that it tasted good but wasn’t as different as the other soups.

2. Pumpkin Black Bean – folks raved about it.

And the number one most highly rated soup was:

Texas Chili

It was amazing. It was the only recipe I didn’t double and should have. Delish! A little labor intensive but rich with multiple layers of flavor and very satisfying.

I served angel food cake with lemon curd and raspberry sauce for dessert.

Thanks again to all who attended!

Soup’s On!

Last modified on 2011-02-18 12:37:33 GMT. 1 comment. Top.

Come one, come all, but only come if you LOVE SOUP!

You are cordially invited to my house for soup on Saturday, February 26, 2011 from 5 – 7pm.

Please RSVP by leaving a comment or emailing me at

j a n n a b e e c h a m {at} g m a i l . c o m

no later than Thursday, February 24th.

You only need to bring an adventurous palate.

Hope to see you soon!

Older children – adults only please.

Meal Plan – 11

Last modified on 2011-02-11 14:18:52 GMT. 1 comment. Top.

This week’s meal plan includes a shout-out to a few of my favorite Food Network cooks.

Click on the recipe title to be redirected to the recipe.

Roast Beef with Spicy Parsley Tomato Sauce

Giada De Laurentiis


Perfect Roast Chicken

Ina Garten


Tomato Pie

I neeeeed a little taste of spring.

Paula Deen


Linguine with Lemon, Garlic, and Thyme Mushrooms

Nigela Lawson


Egg, Canadian Bacon, and Cheddar Biscuits

Breakfast for dinner. Yeah.

Sara Moulton


Disclaimer:  I don’t have a plan for every night of the week and I’m not including side dishes lest you think I don’t eat vegetables. I love vegetables. Except for brussel sprouts. I hate those things.


Last modified on 2011-02-08 20:24:59 GMT. 15 comments. Top.

I love soup.

My husband hates soup.

Because of this difference I’ve been asked (very nicely I might add) to stop making soups.

But I don’t want to.

What about you? Do you like soup? If I made some soup would you eat it with me?

Seriously, if you know where I live and you’d actually be willing to drive to my house, let me know and I’ll invite you over for some soup.

Maybe we’ll have a soup party with everyone else that likes soup.

This is gonna be awesome.

Meal Plan Challenge

Last modified on 2011-02-02 22:32:50 GMT. 3 comments. Top.

My mom recently challenged me to make a one week meal plan for her that was low carb and low fat.

Breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I choose to list 5 recipes for each course assuming you’d have leftovers a time or two.

I’ve not had time to do a taste test on all of these recipes so no guarantee that they taste good!

I was going to organize the list and recipes into a daily format, day 1, day 2, etc. but thought I’d just group the recipes by course instead. Then you can mix and match however you like.

Here’s what I came up with. Be sure to check the number of servings and serving size on each of the recipes.

Click on the recipe title to be redirected to the recipe.


Vegetable Poached Eggs

You can swap out any of the veggies you don’t like for ones that appeal more to you.

Vegetable Poached Eggs

Breakfast Egg Wraps

We love these and there are a million variations. Swap out the flour tortillas with low or no-carb tortillas.

Mexican Breakfast Wraps

Spinach, Grape, and Coconut Smoothie

Real Simple magazine had a bunch of smoothie ideas in their February ’11  issue. Or you can go to their website and type “smoothie” in the search box for lots of  smoothie ideas.

Spinach, grape, and coconut smoothie

Fruit and Oat Museli

Sub non-fat milk for the low-fat milk the recipe calls for. You could probably substitute steel-cut oats for the quick cooking oats called for in the recipe but if you do that you’ll need to make the museli a day ahead to give the steel-cut oats enough time to soften in the liquids.

Jalapeño, Sausage, Jack, and Egg Breakfast Braid

Jalapeño, Sausage, Jack, and Egg Breakfast Braid

Confetti Omelet Casserole

Confetti Omelet Casserole


Spicy Buffalo Chickpea Salad

Add chicken or tuna for some extra protein and substance.

Bacon and Edamame Wrap

Sub a low-carb tortilla.

Healthified Bacon and Edamame Wraps

Shrimp and Cucumber Lettuce Wraps with Fresh Dill

Chicken and Spinach Quinoa

Pomegranate Lentil Soup



Salmon with Lemon, Capers, and Rosemary

The recipe calls for grilling the salmon packets but I’ve made them in the oven and they’re just as tasty.

Serve with steamed broccoli seasoned with sea salt a squirt of lemon juice and toasted slivered almonds.

Creamy Corn and Vegetable Soup

Serve with mixed green salad and Ken’s creamy cesar salad dressing (check the bottle there is a 0 carb bottle).

Picture of Creamy Corn and Vegetable Soup Recipe

Lime Cumin-Crusted Chicken with Avacado Salsa

Lime Cumin-Crusted Chicken with Avocado Salsa

Turkey Mini-Meatloafs

Serve with oven roasted olive oil brushed asparagus seasoned with sea salt.

Turkey Mini Meat Loaves

Honey-Coriander Glazed Ham

Serve with green beans and roasted mashed cauliflower. Or,like the picture broccoli and smashed sweet potatoes.

Honey-Coriander Glazed Ham

Meal Plan – 10

Last modified on 2011-01-13 13:58:49 GMT. 5 comments. Top.

This week has been a clean-out-the-fridge-and-freezer-week so I didn’t have a meal plan.

Here’s next week’s.

Click on the recipe title to be redirected to the recipe.

Red Lentil Mulligatawny with Apple-Celery Salsa

This soup is super good and is, or is similar to, a recipe my sister-in-law Ali gave me.

Couldn’t find red lentils at my small town grocery so had to order them from Amazon.

Herb Crusted Pork Tenderloin

A Paula Deen recipe.

I think those rose tomato things in the picture are dumb but whateves.

Curried Chicken Penne with Fresh Mango Chutney

I read somewhere recently that curry and tumeric were good for fighting off Alzheimer disease.

I’m willing to try just about anything to not get that.

Plus I think this just sounds good.

Cabernet Braised Short Ribs with Gorgonzola Polenta and Mixed-Herb Gremolata

This one is a little fancy-schmancy but is so good it’s worth the ingredients and effort.

If you don’t like blue cheese (you’re weird), you can substitute any strong flavored cheese. Parmesan would be a suitable alternative.

Skillet Gnocchi with Chard & White Beans

I’m willing to give this one a try but with spinach instead of chard.

Chard weirds me out just a little.

As always, if you try any of these please let me know what you thought of the recipe.

Disclaimer:  I don’t have a plan for every night of the week and I’m not including side dishes lest you think I don’t eat vegetables. I love vegetables. Except for brussel sprouts. I hate those things.

Meal Plan – 9

Last modified on 2011-01-05 12:50:34 GMT. 1 comment. Top.

Here’s this weeks plan.

I know it’s already Wednesday and the week is half over.


Click on the recipe title to be redirected to the recipe.

Spicy Buffalo Chickpea Salad

How can you go wrong with buffalo sauce?

Fettuccine With Lima Beans, Peas, and Leeks

Confession: I made this and didn’t like it. I used fat-free half n half instead of the heavy cream but that’s not why I didn’t like it. I don’t like lima beans, no matter how much cheese is on them. Maybe you’ll like it though.

Ginger-Aled Ham

Mmmmm. I don’t have ginger-ale but I do have Squirt so will try that. I picked up a ham at the grocery so am looking forward to this.

Sean’s Falafel and Cucumber Sauce

Love me some falafel!

Lighter Beef Stew

My sister-in-law Ali gave me a really good recipe for beef stew but I can’t find it right now. It’s somewhere in my mess of recipes. This one from Martha Stewart looks pretty good.

Disclaimer:  I don’t have a plan for every night of the week and I’m not including side dishes lest you think I don’t eat vegetables. I love vegetables. Except for brussel sprouts. I hate those things.

Meal Plan – After Christmas

Last modified on 2010-12-27 15:01:31 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

Here’s this week’s meal plan.

Probably should be next week’s plan too.

I over-celebrated just a tad in the food department this year…

More Mini Gingerbread Houses

Last modified on 2010-12-21 21:05:25 GMT. 3 comments. Top.


I was perusing a favorite website when…


Yet another reminder that apparently I’m the ONLY person who can’t assemble mini gingerbread houses.

*hanging my head in shame*

These are even smaller than the ones I wanted to make.

The Decorated Cookie

I started to wonder.

Are there more people out there that apparently have this mini-gingerbread making ability?

Yes, yes there are.

Nate’s blog

And another.

The Incredible Edible Gingerbread Company

And another.

Taste of Home

Of course.

Martha Stewart


Mini gingerbread houses are STUPID.

Sweet Paul

Last modified on 2010-12-15 14:02:43 GMT. 1 comment. Top.

I have a list of blogs and websites that I really like and check regularly.

Here is one of them:

Sweet Paul

According to Paul,

I’m a 43 year old food and prop stylist and crafter…

Paul’s blog is beautiful and creative and he’s started an e-magazine and it’s free.

Below is a link to the most recent edition and a snapshot of a few pages from the magazine.

Happy Holidays

I want to live in the magazine.

Here’s a Christmas tag idea from his blog that I think is really cool.

Check out his blog and his e-magazines.

Sweet Paul

Meal Plan – 8

Last modified on 2010-11-12 14:09:00 GMT. 3 comments. Top.

Here we go again.

I’m throwing in a couple of fun ethnic inspired recipes. Don’t be afraid to try them based on the ingredients.

Click on the recipe title to be redirected to the recipe.

Addictive Sweet Potato Burritos

I haven’t tried this yet but the recipe got rave reviews with one change. Substitute black beans for the kidney beans.

Photo from

Moroccan Lentil Soup

No cholesterol and high in protein and fiber. I’m not a huge fan of lentils but am hoping that the rest of the vegetables and spices in the recipe cover up their flavor.

Photo from

Butternut Squash Soup

My friend Keri gave me this recipe with her substitutions, additions, and changes. I made it her way, loved it, then forgot about it. Yesterday my OTHER friends reminded me of this recipe. So, now I’d like to share it with you. You can thank me after you’ve tried it.

Here are Keri’s changes that I highly recommend:

  1. Bake squash for about an hour at 400 degrees
  2. Substitute 4 cups vegetable stock or broth for the 3 cups water and 4 chicken bouillon cubes
  3. Add one peeled, chopped granny smith apple
  4. Half the amount of margarine
  5. Increase the amount of cayenne to 1/4 teaspoon
  6. Add dash of nutmeg
  7. Half the amount of cream cheese

Photo from

Spinach and Chickpeas

From one of my favorite websites Smitten Kitchen. Not sure that this could stand up as a main dish but maybe with a salad and some good crusty bread it could serve as a nice meal.

Photo from

Caribbean Rice and Peas

Easily made vegetarian if that’s what you’re in to.

Disclaimer:  I don’t have a plan for every night of the week and I’m not including side dishes lest you think I don’t eat vegetables. I love vegetables. Except for brussel sprouts. I hate those things.

Go Buckeyes!

Last modified on 2010-11-02 18:32:19 GMT. 5 comments. Top.

No, not the sports teams from Ohio State University. No offense.

I’m talkin’ about the chocolate covered peanut butter balls. Yeah, I’ll cheer for these little guys any day.

Yaaaaay! Rah!!!

Photo from

Oh yeah baby. I love these things.

My grandma used to make them every year.

We’d arrive at my grandparent’s house early Christmas morning and there would be a smorgasbord of goodies laid out for us to feast on all day long. Among them were always buckeyes.

I’ve never made them but think I’d like to give them a try this year.

This morning I checked one of my favorite blogs, Smitten Kitchen and was greeted with a lovely tutorial and recipe for buckeyes!

I’ve been wanting to tell you about Smitten Kitchen anyway so seeing buckeyes on her site today made it seem like the perfect opportunity to do a little show and tell.

Smitten Kitchen’s Buckeyes

Photos from

While it weirds me out just a tad to eat something called “buckeyes” because…well… they look like buck eyes, the magically deliciousness of them overpowers any weirdness.

You should totally go and check out Smitten Kitchen’s website. Great recipes, great photos.

Smitten Kitchen


Last modified on 2010-10-28 14:50:19 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

I really like this website.

I pretty much only go here to look at the pictures but I bet most of the recipes are really yummy.

From the website’s About page,

Founded in January 2007 on the idea that we eat first with our eyes, TasteSpotting is our obsessive, compulsive collection of eye-catching images that link to something deliciously interesting on the other side. Think of TasteSpotting as a highly visual potluck of recipes, references, experiences, stories, articles, products, and anything else that inspires exquisite taste.

Here’s a smattering of pictures from the website.

All photos from

Meal Plan – 6

Last modified on 2010-10-23 00:09:31 GMT. 5 comments. Top.

Here’s next week’s meal plan. Have a great weekend.

Click on the recipe title to be redirected to the recipe.

S’Mores Doughnuts

Just kidding. Sort of.

Photo from

Minestrone with Endive & Pepperoni

Perfect for a chilly evening.

Photo from

Barbecue Apricot Chicken

I’ve made this a few times and really like it. Not a traditional BBQ taste but really good.

Photo from

Salmon with Lemon, Capers, and Rosemary


Photo from

Slow Cooker Italian Beef

L-o-v-e this! Must add peppercini’s and some of the juice from the jar to the slower cooker.

Photo from

Broiled Tilapia Parmesan

Haven’t tried this but it got rave reviews.

Photo from

Let me know if you end up trying any of these!

Disclaimer:  I don’t have a plan for every night of the week and I’m not including side dishes lest you think I don’t eat vegetables. I love vegetables. Except for brussel sprouts. I hate those things.


God & Bacon

Last modified on 2010-10-21 12:13:50 GMT. 7 comments. Top.

Saw this picture today and it made me think of my husband.

In case you can’t read the text in the picture it says:

Bacon is Like a Little Hug from God

I agree.

Photo from nicodemus green on

Speaking of bacon and my husband (who loves bacon) I found these other interesting and disturbing items.

Bacon Wallet

Everyone needs one.

Bacon Floss

Because while you may not want it stuck in your teeth, everyone wants that bacon flavor to last just a little longer.

Bacon Watch

What time is it? Bacon time.

Bacon Vodka

For reals, yo.

Anyone remember the episode of The Office where Micheal burns his foot on his George Foreman grill because he wants to wake up to the smell of bacon?

In conclusion bacon can be dangerous but if you’re feeling lonely or just hungry go ahead and have some.

It’s like a little hug from God.

Toads & Italian Cream Cake

Last modified on 2010-10-20 13:18:28 GMT. 6 comments. Top.

My mother-in-law’s birthday was Monday. Happy Birthday again!

To celebrate my in-laws came over along with my brother and sister-in-law, their three kids, and relatives from Illinois.

We cooked out and hung out and it was great to be together.

Click on any of the photos to make see a larger version.

Here’s my mother-in-law Kathy with my youngest nephew, Jonah.

Niece Annika getting ready to jump off the porch.

Nephew Caleb with a toad. He loves looking for and catching toads at our house.

Annika and Caleb. I love the look on Caleb’s face.

I forgot to take pictures of everyone else that was there which is too bad.

Of course I remembered to take a picture of dessert though.

My mother-in-law requested Italian Cream Cake for her birthday dessert this year. So that’s what I made her.

I sent the left-over cake home with my mother-in-law but I have to admit that I wanted to keep it for myself.

Food & Wine Magazine

Last modified on 2010-10-13 23:55:32 GMT. 1 comment. Top.

I love magazines. I love catalogs. I especially love food magazines and catalogs.

I’m a fairly recent subscriber to Food & Wine magazine. Aside from the wonderful recipes and wine reviews, the photography is gorgeous.

I generally spend lots of time pouring over the articles and the recipes. I look up the sources for the tableware used in the food photography. Then I mark the recipes I want to try. The sticky notes in this issue are from a friend who borrowed my magazine but I agree with her choices.

There are always lots of vegetarian recipes. A few of the recipes might require obscure ingredients that I most likely won’t be able to find in my small town, but I can usually find a suitable substitute.

Here’s the October 2010 cover.

Sometimes I think I can taste the food just by looking at the pictures.

I thoroughly appreciate the wine information.

Especially when I’m given reviews for wine under $20.

That’s at least close to my price range.

All in all a fabulous, inspiring, and beautiful magazine.

I highly recommend it.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, the November issue came in the mail today.

My evening is booked.

Meal Plan – 5

Last modified on 2010-10-11 18:52:19 GMT. 4 comments. Top.

We had a week of cooler temperatures here in the Midwest so I started to get all geared up for fall weather and yummy fall food.

Then, yesterday’s temp was 86° F and today’s high is 84 ° F. What the heck?!

I’m not giving up on wanting fall foods though. Below is a list of soups and chowders perfect for any fall day, regardless of the temperature.

Click on the recipe title to be redirected to the recipe.

White Bean & Ham Soup

I’m pretty excited to try this one.

Photo from

Salmon Chowder

Adapted from Sara Moulton’s Smoky Salmon Chowder. Click here for the original recipe.


  • 6 to 8 red potatoes (about 1 pound)
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups fat free milk, heated
  • 1 cup fat free half-n-half, heated
  • 1 pound skinless salmon cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

To make the chowder:

Cut the potatoes  into 1/4-inch cubes. Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat; add the onion and cook, stirring often until softened, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the flour and cook for about 3 minutes. Increase the heat to medium-high, pour in the heated milk and half-n-half, and bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Add the potatoes, season with salt, and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook until the potatoes are almost tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Add the salmon, and cook until slightly firm to the touch, about 5 minutes. Add the dill and lemon juice to the hot chowder. Season with salt and pepper and simmer until just heated through, about 2 minutes. Serve hot.

Big Batch Vegetable Soup

This soup is really versatile. I just chop up and throw whatever veggies (canned, frozen, fresh) I have on hand in to the soup. This recipe does make a big batch but it freezes and reheats well.

Photo from

Pumpkin and Black Bean Soup

I’ve made this lots of times and really like it.

Photo from

Garlicky White Bean Soup with Chicken and Chard

This sounds so good to me right now. I just might make this tonight.

Photo from

Disclaimer:  I don’t have a plan for every night of the week and I’m not including side dishes lest you think I don’t eat vegetables. I love vegetables. Except for brussel sprouts. I hate those things.

Jell-O is Stupid and Weird

Last modified on 2010-10-08 16:49:45 GMT. 10 comments. Top.

Jell-O is what’s wrong with America.

It’s been around since 1897.

One of Jell-O’s appetizing slogans, “America’s most famous dessert”.

Really? Jell-O is our most famous dessert?

I’m ashamed. Very ashamed.

Plus, how creepy is this commercial for Jell-O?

How can Sweet Tooth Sam eat anything with that snaggle-tooth?

What’s in Jell-O you ask? Friends I have the answer.


” Jello-O is made from gelatin, an animal product rendered from the hides and bones of animals. The production of gelatin starts with the boiling of bones, skins, and hides of cows and pigs, a process that releases the protein-rich collagen from animal tissues. The collagen is boiled and filtered numerous times, dried, and ground to a powder.”

Here’s a print ad from Jell-O.

Those kids look crazy. Probably from too much Jell-O consumption.

The woman in the background of this picture gets it. Look at her. Poor thing is terrified of that massive red glob in front of her.

This one might just be my favorite print ad. Clearly it’s before any subliminal messaging.

Then, as if Jell-O in a plain bowl wasn’t enough, some genius invented molds and stuck Jell-O in it.

Like molding the stuff makes it more appealing.

I’m pretty sure you can use just about any baking pan as a Jell-O mold.

Here are some creative uses of Jell-O in molds.

Photo from

Photo from

Just in time for Halloween.

Photo from

Photo from

Lastly and most importantly disturbing to me is when people put stuff in Jell-O.

I shudder just thinking about it.

Believe it or not this is called “Perfection Salad”.

Photo from

I guess this is one way to eat your vegetables.

Photo from

I will end this post now. I can’t stand looking at any more Jell-O pictures or think about it any more.

The one and only exception to everything I just said about Jell-O is Jell-O with alcohol in it. Jell-O shots anyone?

After two or three does it even matter that Jell-O is involved?

I say no.

Meal Plan – 4

Last modified on 2010-10-01 13:00:30 GMT. 2 comments. Top.

OK friends, since I’ll be off having fun with my husband and friends in Kentucky this weekend I won’t be doing my usual grocery shopping.

This week’s meal plan is a bit simpler than the last few have been. Enjoy and as always let me know if you make any of these!

Have a great weekend.

Click on the recipe title to be redirected to the recipe.

Tomato and Olive Penne

Simple and easy.

Photo from

Black Bean and Salsa Soup

You’ll like this. Trust me.

Photo from

Italian Egg Sandwich

Maybe it sounds and/or looks a little weird to you but it’s good. Really, really good.

Photo by Esther Wolf

Steak Salad

Probably don’t need a recipe for this but here’s one just in case you do.

Photo from

Grilled Chicken and Pineapple Quesadilla

I haven’t made this yet but it sounds good.

Photo from

Disclaimer:  I don’t have a plan for every night of the week and I’m not including side dishes lest you think I don’t eat vegetables. I love vegetables. Except for brussel sprouts. I hate those things.


Last modified on 2010-09-27 17:17:57 GMT. 1 comment. Top.

Sorry this is another post about food but these are haunting me.

Someone please help me by making a batch. Then tell me if they’re any good.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Sweet Rolls

from The Pioneer Woman

Meal Plan – 3

Last modified on 2010-09-23 13:41:59 GMT. 8 comments. Top.

Here we go again.

Let me know if you try any of these.

Click on the recipe title to be redirected to the recipe.

Onion Soup with Loads of Thyme and Giant Gruyere Crostini

Can’t wait to try this!

Photo from

Salmon with Lentils and Mustard-Herb Butter

I know lentils are good for you but they’re a bit of a mystery to me. I’m willing to give them a try though.

Photo from

Fettuccine Alfredo

This recipe is really good and you can add cooked chicken to it if you want.

Photo from

Easy Chicken Fajitas

Love fajitas!

Photo from

Peanutty Noodles

I’ve made this for kids and they really liked it. I make this recipe a little extra saucey. That way if there are any leftovers the noodles don’t soak up all the sauce, making a dry and not so tasty reheated meal.

Photo from

Disclaimer:  I don’t have a plan for every night of the week and I’m not including side dishes lest you think I don’t eat vegetables. I love vegetables. Except for brussel sprouts. I hate those things.

What Have You Passed Off As Dinner?

Last modified on 2010-09-21 14:58:56 GMT. 21 comments. Top.

Be honest.

What have you, out of weakness or laziness, passed off as dinner?

Don’t be embarrassed to share. No judging here.

Below is a pictorial description of some of my dinners.  Please note that these “dinners” have happened over a period of years and each picture represents a separate dinner.

Brace yourself.

Whew! I feel better now.

Nothing like a food confessional on a Tuesday morning.

Now it’s your turn.

Meal Plan – 2

Last modified on 2010-09-20 22:50:05 GMT. 4 comments. Top.

This week has been a disaster in the meal plan area. So far our dinners have consisted of cereal, cheese and crackers, perogies, and a bland chicken dish that I bought weird ingredients for that obviously was not good. I hate when that happens.

Since my last menu plan went so well and clearly I need a plan so that we eat things other than only carbs for dinner, I’ve made another meal plan.

Before we get in to the recipes let me say that I don’t have a plan for every night of the week and I’m not including side dishes lest you think I don’t eat vegetables. I love vegetables. Except for brussel sprouts. I hate those things.

Click on the recipe title to be redirected to the recipe.

Creamy Shrimp with Corn and Bacon

This stuff is SO good! Left overs are great as well.

Photo from Real Simple magazine

Moroccan Pot Roast

When you click on the title of the recipe above a PDF document with the recipe will open and you can print the recipe.

Photo by Rachel Barclay

My co-worker Rachel passed this recipe along and I’m so glad she did. I’m ready for fall and this recipe just says fall to me. She said she would vouch for the recipe so she’s in BIG trouble if I make it and it isn’t any good.

Mozzarella Chicken and Homemade Walnut Basil Pesto

I’m pretty sure my mom made the mozzarella chicken recipe up and it’s delish. Serve it with a side of spaghetti with pesto sauce and you’ve got a great meal.

Mozzarella Chicken


4-6 boneless skinless chicken breasts (depending on size)

1 26 oz bottle spaghetti sauce (any brand will do)

4-6 slices of mozzarella cheese

1 TB Italian seasoning


Heat large skillet over medium-high and empty jar of spaghetti sauce into large skillet. Stir in italian seasoning.  Add chicken breasts and stir to coat with spaghetti sauce. Cover and cook until chicken is completely cooked. About 12 – 14 minutes.

When chicken is cooked turn off heat. Place one piece of cheese over each chicken breast and place lid back on skillet just until cheese has melted.

Buffalo Chicken Wraps and Edamame Corn Salad

When you click on the title of the recipes above a PDF document with the recipe will open and you can print the recipe.

Photo from Taste of Home

My co-worker Rochella talked and talked about how she was going to make buffalo chicken wraps and sent us a recipe. I begged her to bring me in a sample of the wraps she made. But she didn’t do it. I’m not speaking to her right now.

Then another co-worker, Rachel, gave us the edamame corn salad recipe. It’s super good.

Lastly, I’d like to make a soup but can’t decide on a recipe. I’d like it to be vegetarian but not a vegetable soup.

Maybe something that uses coconut milk. Fancy shmancy like.

Any ideas?

Just for funzies how about this for a nice simple meal. cough, cough

Pumpkin Stuffed with Vegetable Stew

This just looks friggin’ awesome.

Photo from

Muffin Pan Food

Last modified on 2010-09-09 11:50:41 GMT. 7 comments. Top.

THIS is all the rage! Meals prepared in muffin pans. Like my post on bento boxes, muffin pans certainly offer the benefit of portable, small portioned food.

That is unless you eat 6 of the muffins.

Or all 12.

Williams-Sonoma Goldtouch Nonstick Muffin Pan

I can’t help but think of Austin Powers Goldmember every time I see this pan.

Sur la Table de Buyer® Elastomoule Silicone Muffin Mold

Target Silicone Solutions Red Muffin Pan

Anybody ever use silicone pans? My sister-in-law (hi Ali!) asked for them for Christmas one year but I can’t remember her ever saying anything good or bad about them.  I don’t understand how they work. Once filled with batter wouldn’t they be weird and awkward to pick up and get in the oven. Wouldn’t the finished product just dump out when you tried to pull the pan out of the oven?

To get the juices, or well muffins, a-flowin’ here are some yummy looking recipes I’d like all of you to make and bring me a sample of.

Just kidding.

Sort of.

Click on the title of the recipe to be redirected to the recipe.


Muffin Frittatas

Make-Ahead Muffin Melts

Quiche Muffins


Lasagna Cupcakes

Tilapia Fish Tacos with Arugula

Mini Greek Pizza Muffins

Barbecue-Stuffed Corn Muffins

Mini Shepherd’s Pie

Individual Scalloped Potatoes


We’ve all seen lots of individual desserts so I’m only going to post a couple.

Individual Orange and Chocolate Cheesecakes

Mini Blueberry Coffee Cakes

Eggnog-Panettone Bread Pudding


Wine in a Box

Last modified on 2010-09-07 11:41:23 GMT. 5 comments. Top.

More and more I’m seeing news of “good” wine in a box. I am sure that strides have been made in the making and storing of wine and ok sure, maybe there is a wine in a box somewhere that would be drinkable and not Kool-Aid like.

I was scrolling through thekitchn website and this headline jumped out at me.

Octavin: Premium Wine in a Box

Take a moment and read or at least skim the article.

I’ll wait.

OK, so who knew boxed wine was first developed in Australia?

I’ve heard from friends that the Target wine cubes are pretty good. Anyone try one of these?

Bota Box

If you’re wanting to be more Green, check these out.

French Rabbit

Then there are these cute little boxes that frankly look like adult juice boxes to me. Where does the straw go?

Wonder if there’s someway to incorporate a wine box in to a hydration backpack system.

The Camelbak, instead of filled with water or Gatorade, a lovely refreshing chardonnay. Heck, I feel like I could actually go on a run if I had this on my back.

And finally the ONLY way I’d EVER wear a fanny pack. To have wine this convenient. This portable.

Espresso Shortbread Cookies

Last modified on 2010-09-03 17:59:17 GMT. 1 comment. Top.

I love shortbread. I love coffee. I love crunchy food. These bad boys are the perfect mix of my loves!

A few weeks ago there was an all-day function at work. A local caterer who uses all local and whole foods was hired to provide food for the day. During one of the breaks a friend brought me a sampler plate of the goodies served during the morning sessions. Among them were small but amazing espresso bean shortbread cookies. I loved them and they loved me.

Since then I’ve been looking for a similar recipe and have found a couple I want to try. I made the following Martha Stewart recipe this week.

Click on any of the recipe titles to be redirected to the recipe.

Martha Stewart’s Espresso Shortbread Recipe

These were ok. Not what I was hoping for. The cookies I want to make have ground bits of espresso beans mixed in with a basic shortbread cookie.

Thinking of trying these next.

Smitten Kitchen’s Espresso-Chocolate Shortbread Cookies

Espresso Shortbread Brownie Bars

My co-worker Pam found this yummy recipe. She made the brownies and brought them in today for us to try. They were super-good.

I may just have to make up my own recipe…gasp!

Hearty Multi-grain Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes

Last modified on 2010-08-27 12:08:51 GMT. 1 comment. Top.

Make these ASAP. The list of ingredients looks a little crazy but trust me these pancakes are delish.

A coworker/friend gave me the recipe.  These babies are hearty!

Note on photos: I let my two god-daughters play with my camera. Since then I can only get the camera to focus in the bottom left corner of the screen. I know there is a way to fix this. There has to be. I just can’t figure it out! So please pretend that the photos of the pancakes below are in perfect focus.

Hearty Multi-Grain Blueberry Buttermilk Slap Yo Mama These Are So Good Pancakes

Yield: 2 dozen pancakes
1 cup regular rolled oats, uncooked
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 egg whites, lightly beaten
2 1/4 cups nonfat buttermilk
1 Tablespoon honey
2 Tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup blueberries
Additional canola oil for pan
Combine oats, whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt in a large
bowl; mix well and set aside.
Combine egg whites, buttermilk, honey, oil, and vanilla extract; blend well.
Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients; gradually pour buttermilk mixture into center,
stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened.
Cover and let stand at room temperature at least 15 minutes.
Coat a griddle or nonstick skillet with a thin layer of canola oil; heat over medium heat.
Cook pancakes in batches, pouring about 2 tablespoons batter for each pancake onto hot griddle.
Sprinkle each pancake with a few blueberries. Turn pancakes when top is covered with bubbles
and edges looked cooked.
The edges will be a little crispy which is in part what makes these so good.

**This is important. If you taste one of these pancakes sans-syrup you won’t be too excited about them. They need syrup.***
~ From the Guilt-Free “Comfort Food” Cookbook

Enjoy your Friday and have a great weekend.

P.S. Don’t worry mom, I’d never slap you. No matter how good these pancakes are.  :)

Meal Plan – Update

Last modified on 2010-08-26 15:15:10 GMT. 2 comments. Top.

First of all I lied. We bought the roasted garlic and chicken Archer Farms frozen pizza, not the spinach and goat cheese. whew! I know. You can all rest easy now. The truth is out.

Anyway, turns out that it’s Wednesday evening and I’m only now making one of the meals planned. I made the Tomato Baked Eggs and Sage and Gorgonzola Cheese Puffs. Below is a picture of the baked egg in tomato. I didn’t want to post pictures of the cheese puffs because they weren’t very pretty. They tasted great though! Not sure how often I’ll make either of these recipes. I really liked the baked egg in tomato but it was a little awkward to eat and had to bake for 45 minutes. It might have to be a weekend meal because of the prep and baking time.

Then because my sweet tooth was flaring up again I whipped up some Individual Raspberry Cobblers. Didn’t have enough raspberries so used more of my hand-picked blueberries. Dang I love these little cobblers.

Had to try one…or two right out of the oven. The raspberry ones are much better than the blueberry but I needed to perform a taste test of each to make sure. As if I didn’t know what they tasted like…

These babies are a little tricky. If you don’t wait until they are completely cool they stick to the bottom of the pan. I even coat my non-stick muffin pans heavily as you can see in the photo above.

I’m not making dinner tonight so tomorrow night will either be the Fried Green Tomatoes with Jalapeno Cheese Grits or the Spaghetti with Artichoke Hearts and Tomatoes.

Hope your week is going well and hope you have a great day today!

Meal Plan

Last modified on 2010-08-24 00:32:22 GMT. 6 comments. Top.

OK, so I’m not the greatest at planning ahead. Every once in awhile I’ll get a wild hair and think that I should make a weekly meal plan. Well the truth is my husband tells me I should make a weekly meal plan and I tell him, “No way. I don’t want to be tied down, man”.

I usually go to the grocery store and buy a bunch of random stuff that no one, not even the most accomplished chef, could ever put together in any sort of edible fashion. Then I have to go to the store again to buy more so that I can actually make a complete meal.

Alternatively on the few occasions I have made a meal plan inevitably I’ll leave the list of meals and what I need to buy at home. Then I have to go to the store again to buy what I forgot so I can actually make a complete meal.

Anyone seeing a pattern here?

I’ve turned a corner, a leaf, made a commitment, and came to my senses. Last weekend I made a meal plan, made a grocery list, AND took it to the store with me. By George, I’m think I’m on to something! Shhh, don’t tell my husband. My list assumes that there will be leftovers to take to work the next day.

Here it is with links to recipes. (This is for you Christy!) Main dish only listed.
I only now noticed that all of the meals have tomatoes of some sort in them. That was unintentional. Let me know if you make any of these and what you thought of them.

Sloppy Joes

Fried Green Tomatoes with Jalapeno Cheese Grits

Spaghetti with Artichoke Hearts and Tomatoes

Archer Farms (Target brand) Spinach and Goat Cheese frozen pizza

Baked Eggs in Tomatoes (recipe below) and Sage and Gorgonzola Gougeres

Baked Eggs in Tomatoes
Serves 4
From Everyday Food 2010
4 large beefsteak tomatoes
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1/2 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons snipped fresh chives
1/4 cup grated pecorino or Parmesan cheese
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Spray a 9-inch baking dish or pie plate with oil.
With a serrated knife, cut the top 1/2 inch off each tomato. Use the knife to carefully cut out the inner membrane. Use a spoon to scrape everything out, taking care not to split the wall of the tomato. Place tomatoes in the dish and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Divide the corn among the tomatoes. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs and chives, season with salt and pepper. Divide egg mixture among the tomatoes and sprinkle with cheese.
Bake until the egg mixture is set, 45 to 50 minutes.

Sloppy Joes

Last modified on 2010-08-19 15:35:53 GMT. 1 comment. Top.

Make this TONIGHT. I promise you won’t regret it. Our friends, Sam and Nicole, had us over for dinner on Tuesday and Nicole made these two recipes. From The Pioneer Woman’s  website sloppy joes and really good but different potato salad. Hands down the best sloppy joes I’ve ever had. The grilled bun made all the difference.

Give both recipes a try and let me know what you think. Click on the recipe name to be re-directed to Pioneer Woman’s website and the recipes.

Sloppy Joes

Potato Salad


Last modified on 2010-08-18 12:01:01 GMT. 5 comments. Top.

I happened upon Bakerella’s website a few years ago. I can’t say that I’ve ever made any of her fun cake-pops but they are super cute. I don’t think I have the attention to detail or patience that she has. Bakerella makes bite size cake balls, coats them in colored icing then decorates them. They really are little pieces of cute edible art!

She gives step-by-step instructions with pictures on her website and has just completed a cookbook that will go to press later this year.

Cake Pops

Cupcake Bites and other Pops

All photos from the Bakerella website.

Fair Food

Last modified on 2010-08-16 18:32:21 GMT. 4 comments. Top.

My brother picked me up from work last week and we met his girlfriend and my husband in Indy for the Indiana State Fair. I’m pretty sure it was the hottest day of the year but we headed out to try some of the interesting fair food we had recently heard about.

The State Fair brings out the most interesting people. In fact, people-watching is almost as fun as trying the food and going to the free concerts. After we’d stuffed ourselves with fat-free, low-calorie foods we took a trolley ride around the fairgrounds and now more than ever I am convinced that two things are optional when you go to the fair. Bras and teeth. ‘Nuff said.

Anyhoo, I tried three new foods.

#1 Fried oreos

#2 Chocolate Covered Bacon

#3 the Pièce de résistance, the Doughnut Burger.

I can hardly talk about anything but the fried Oreos. Those weren’t half bad. In fact, I liked them. The chocolate covered bacon was just….wrong.  Flimsy undercooked bacon dipped in cheap chocolate and then, just before serving, dusted with powdered sugar. I guess I understand what they were going for with the whole salty and sweet flavors but there has got to be a better way to achieve it.

Lastly was the doughnut burger. A hamburger, piece of cheese, lettuce, and tomato served between two warmed-up Krispy Kreme doughnuts. I could hardly look at it let alone eat it. My brother liked it a lot. His girlfriend thought it edible. Me and the hubby? I almost spit out the bite I took and he had the same reaction. I’m almost gagging thinking about it right now.

I really wanted to try the fried butter but couldn’t talk anyone else into it. I’m glad I got to spend time with my brother, his girlfriend and my husband. The Fair? Well, I’m glad it’s over.

Tomato, Basil, and Cheese Tart & Blueberry Cobbler

Last modified on 2010-08-09 13:53:50 GMT. 4 comments. Top.

Over the weekend my brother and sister-in-law and their kids came to visit. We had a great time with them. Come back soon!

Since it has been so hot here I thought I’d make a light(er) dinner for our guests. Good thing I made this the night before they arrived because I forgot how loooong it takes to make. All the effort was well worth it though.

I bought this cookbook a few years back and to date have loved everything I’ve made out of it.

Some of the recipes can be a bit involved for a beginner cook but if you have patience and give them a try you won’t be disappointed. She also has a number of vegetarian recipes in each of her books. Sara Moulton was the Executive Chef of Gourmet Magazine for 23 years and has had her own cooking show on the Food Network. She has written three cookbooks, Sara Moulton Cooks at Home and Sara’s Secrets for Weeknight Meals and Sara Moulton’s Everyday Family Dinners.

For the recipe below I used basil from our garden and tomatoes from my mom’s garden. Nothing beats fresh ingredients!

Tomato, Basil, and Cheese Tart from Sara Moulton Cooks at Home

Serves 6


For the pastry:

  • ¼ pound pancetta or bacon
  • l¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and chilled
  • 2 tablespoons chilled vegetable shortening

For the filling:

  • 4 large tomatoes, sliced 1/3 inch thick
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt plus more for sprinkling the tomatoes
  • 1 cup firmly packed fresh basil leaves plus 3 sprigs for garnish
  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup coarsely grated whole milk mozzarella cheese
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • About 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil for brushing the tomatoes


To prepare the pastry, finely chop the pancetta. Cook in a small skillet, stirring often, over medium-high heat until lightly colored, 5 to 7 minutes. Drain on paper towels until cooled. Combine the flour, salt, and pancetta in a large bowl. Add the butter and shortening. Blend with a pastry blender or your fingertips until the mixture resembles the texture of small peas. Add 3 to 4 tablespoons ice water or enough to form a dough, tossing the mixture until the water is incorporated. Knead the dough lightly with the heel of your hand against a smooth surface for a few seconds to distribute the fat evenly and form it into a ball. Flatten slightly, dust with flour, and chill, wrapped in plastic wrap, for 1 hour.

Roll out into a disk ’/8 inch thick on a lightly floured work surface. Transfer to a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom, cut off excess dough from the edges, and prick the bottom lightly with a fork. Chill for 1 hour and preheat the oven to 375 °F. Line the shell with foil and fill with pie weights, dried beans, or rice. Bake in the lower third of the oven for 20 minutes. Carefully remove the weights and foil. Return to the oven and bake for 10 minutes more or until light golden. Cool in the pan on a wire rack.

To make the filling, turn down the oven to 350°F. Sprinkle the tomato slices on both sides with the additional salt and drain in a colander. Combine the basil leaves, ricotta, and eggs in a food processor and process until blended. Add the teaspoon of salt, the mozzarella, the Parmigiano-Reggiano, and pepper. Process until just combined.

Pat the tomato slices dry with paper towels. Line the bottom of the shell with the tomato end pieces and spoon on the cheese mixture. Arrange the remaining tomato slices in one layer, overlapping slightly, over the cheese mixture. Brush the top with olive oil and bake until the cheese mixture is set, 50 to 60 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Serve hot or at room temperature, garnished with sprigs of basil.

For dessert I made blueberry cobbler using the blueberries I picked the weekend before in northern Indiana at Sider’s Blueberry Farm.

A co-worker shared this recipe with me and it’s supposed to be a healthier version (she’s a health nut) of blueberry cobbler. I made the cobbler in ramekins and served it with vanilla ice cream. It was delicious! I was slightly fearful as “healthier” recipes can sometimes be, well, not so great tasting. This recipe was a nice surprise. NOTE: I doubled the recipe and it made about 18 individual servings.

Blueberry Cobbler from Taste of Home

8 Servings
Prep: 20 min. Bake: 30 min.


  • 4 cups fresh or frozen blueberries, thawed
  • 3/4 cup sugar, divided
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 tablespoons cold butter
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk


  • In a large bowl, combine the blueberries, 1/2 cup sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, cinnamon and nutmeg. Transfer to a 2-qt. baking dish coated with cooking spray.
  • In a small bowl, combine the flour, lemon peel, baking powder, salt, baking soda and remaining sugar; cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in buttermilk just until moistened. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto blueberry mixture.
  • Bake, uncovered, at 375° for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm.

All the food was great if I do say so myself. Saturday morning I made multi-grain blueberry pancakes for breakfast which were awesome! I forgot to take  a picture of them but will make them again and then share the recipe and picture with you. Then smoked gouda and apple grilled cheese for lunch. Dang, now I’m hungry.

Enjoy your day!

Wednesday Weekly Weigh-in: Blenders

Last modified on 2010-07-21 11:35:09 GMT. 7 comments. Top.

OK, today starts the first Wednesday Weekly Weigh-In

#1. Blenders

I have often told the story of the first big argument my (then) fiance and I had while registering for wedding gifts at Target (my happy place).  It only took 8 years of blissful marriage for my (now) husband to finally admit that I was right all those years ago.

Here’s what I said:

A blender only needs two settings. On. Off. In addition the blender should be slightly retro looking. See below.

Waring Pro Bar from $49

My husband was convinced that we needed a blender with many speeds, as many as possible for all the, you know, blending we might want to do. He wanted one similar to the this one.

Hamilton Beach WaveMaker 10-speed from $34.99

We argued and argued until I finally gave in and said in my best wife-to-be voice, “FINE!”. Sure enough at one of my bridal showers someone bought us the 10-speed Hamilton Beach WaveMaker. Damn!

Just for your reading pleasure here’s a link to a consumer report on the best blender.

Finally before you decide which is best, let me say that we’ve used our blender a number of times and when we’ve used it we’ve pretty much only used one button. The blend button. I love when I’m right. :)

So, here’s where you weigh-in. What kind of blender do you have? Do you use all the options or just the on/off switch?

Bringin’ Home the Bacon

Last modified on 2010-07-20 13:09:50 GMT. 4 comments. Top.

Last week our good friends Ike and Nikki were visiting from Alaska. Their extended family, also our good friends, the Gliege’s came over for dinner. We grilled almost the entire meal. Well, Ike grilled almost the entire meal. Nothin’ like making your guest do all the work. *ahem…cough…cough* Sorry Ike. Please come back some day and cook for us some more.

Getting the burger was something of an adventure. I had just watched Food, Inc and so felt convicted enough to not go to Walmart or Kroger and buy any of their ground beef. I decided I would go and get the ground beef for our hamburgers from Moody Meats in Ladoga, IN. Here’s info on how they raise their animals. I had never been there before and relied on directions from a stranger at a small market. I eventually got there and bought 4 pounds of ground beef for about $18. Certainly more expensive but well worth it.

Here’s a picture of the patties. Mmmmm

Being a new customer of Moody Meats I was offered a free pound of ground beef or a pound of bacon. Since I was about to try the ground beef I went for the peppercorn bacon.

Holy moly this stuff was good!

I wish I would have thought to take a picture of the bacon cheeseburgers we had for dinner. They were magically delicious!

Also on the grill were zucchini and squash.

Ike made potato, garlic, onion, and butter packets. He chopped it all up and put it in foil packets. Then put those on the grill as well. I forgot to take a picture of those. They were delish! Especially with a little blue cheese sprinkled on them.

Next time I go to Moody Meats I’ll be bringin’ home some more bacon. BLT’s would be awesome!

I made homemade ice cream for dessert. Christy brought fruit which she cut up to put on the ice cream. YUM!

Thanks again Ike for being the Grill Master. Good to see you again Gliege’s. Ya’ll come back now, ya hear!

Pastries Plus

Last modified on 2010-07-14 12:47:28 GMT. 3 comments. Top.

Not too long ago a little pastry shop opened downtown. Pastries Plus carries a decent size variety of donuts, pastries, bagels, pies, cakes, and breads all made there on-site. I learned this morning that they will also make custom cakes.

I stopped in this morning and picked up a cream cheese pastry. Hello friend.

I also picked up some goodies for my co-workers. It’s a surprise for them and they will hate me for it. Mwahahaha. I figure anything is ok if  you are supporting local businesses.

Have a great day and hope your breakfast was much healthier than mine.

Mason Jar Margaritas

Last modified on 2010-07-12 12:42:03 GMT. 4 comments. Top.

Friends, I want to introduce you to a good friend of mine. Mason Margarita.

Mason Margarita hails from central Mexico from a town named Tequila. She’s old. Very old. And I love her.

We’ve introduced a number of our friends  to Mason Margarita over the last couple of years and everyone agrees. She’s a winner.

Pottery Barn is currently featuring Mason Margarita’s mother on their website and I want to be her friend as well. Have her over sometime, ya know? Really spend some quality time with her.

Pottery Barn Mason Jar Drink Dispenser

Quinoa, Bill Mallonee, and Ahi Nachos

Last modified on 2010-07-12 13:01:57 GMT. 6 comments. Top.

We just got back from a great trip to see our friends in Colorado Springs. Thanks again Jewett’s for your hospitality!

The night we arrived the Jewett’s had planned a house concert with Bill Mallonee (formerly of Vigilantes of Love) and his wife Muriah. We met lots of people and what a treat for my husband to get to hang out with one of his favorite signer/songwriters. You can’t see it in the picture but out the window was an awesome view of Pike’s Peak.

For dinner one night (it’s all a blur now and I can’t remember what we did on what day) Carrie (our hostess) made quinoa. I can’t for the life of me pronounce that word. I hadn’t had it before but heard about it and knew that it was super healthy.

After the quinoa was cooked Carrie added diced cucumber, tomatoes, orange and yellow bell pepper, and kalamata olives. Once the veggies were mixed into the quinoa she added some sort of dressing and voila!

It was sooooo good! I probably ate over half of it. I need to get the recipe for the dressing from Carrie asap so I can start making this at home. Loved it!  Plus, it’s super healthy so I figured it was ok to eat a ton of it.

Here’s a close up.

Another evening the Jewett’s took us to Phantom Canyon Brewery in downtown Colorado Springs. We sat outside and had a wonderful time. We ordered Ahi Nachos as an appetizer and holy cow were they good.

Please imagine for a moment that I know how to use the camera we’ve had for over 4 years and that the picture below is in perfect focus. My nacho was beautiful and it tasted 100 times better than it looked (in focus of course).

Here’s the description from the menu:

Fried Wontons, Hot Chili Soybeans, Wasabi Sour Cream.

This did it no justice.

Below is how I would describe them:

Succulent pieces of seared ahi tuna served on a bed of shredded cabbage with hot chili soybeans topped with wasabi sour cream. Heaven on a plate. OK, so maybe that description wasn’t good enough either. Dang.

The fried wontons were good but not good enough to include in the description. If I’m ever near a Phantom Canyon Brewery again I might just order two of the ahi nacho plates and eat them both all by my self.

I will admit I had thoughts of snatching the plate of nachos away from my husband and our two friends and hunkering down in my chair slobbering and saying in a Gollum voice….my precious. The rest of the meal was good but didn’t compare to the nachos.

While in Colorado Springs we visited the Garden of the Gods,
Agia Sophia Coffee Shop and Bookstore, a farmer’s market, went swimming, went to church at the beautiful Holy Theophony Church, picnicked in a park in the mountains and spent some much needed time with our dear friends.

OH! On the 4th of July we watched four sets of fireworks going off simultaneously with the mountains in the background. For added viewing pleasure there was a lightning storm happening at the same time. I was so mesmerized I forgot to take pictures (which probably wouldn’t be in focus anyway) but it was amazing. A flash of lightning would light up the night sky and outline the dark mountains and then ka-boom! fireworks would would light up the sky. It was like some sort of psychedelic orchestrated light show.

It was a great trip. Here we are at the Garden of the Gods.


Last modified on 2010-06-28 17:00:00 GMT. 5 comments. Top.

I took pictures at Tastings for a birthday party last Saturday. Tastings is located in the Conrad Hotel in downtown Indianapolis. A wine bar and bistro it offers a unique experience for the newbie wine drinker to the connoisseur.

You can either order off the menu or you can pre-load a debit card with money and then go around to little kiosks of wine, swipe your debit card and choose the wine you’d like to try.

Place your glass under the spout and out comes a 3 oz (I’m guessing) pour of the wine you choose.

Or, if you know what you like, you can order a glass or bottle from the menu and enjoy as you people watch from a comfy lounge chair or couch. That’s exactly what I ended up doing while I waited on the birthday bunch to arrive.

I ordered the 2007 Minor Viognier. A crisp, fruity, refreshing chardonnay from Napa Vally. Tastings is also a wine retailer so you can purchase a bottle and head back to your hotel room or to a party or back home and enjoy.

In addition to wine, they also offer beer and a full bar so whatever your drinking pleasure, you’ll be…pleased.

If I wasn’t going to be walking around snapping pictures I would have ordered something from the menu. I did get some shots of the food the birthday bunch ordered.

I’ll be going back to Tastings. Meet me there?


Last modified on 2010-06-29 13:17:42 GMT. 5 comments. Top.

My husband brews his own beer. Between brewings he collects empty bottles to then put the newly brewed beer in. And by collecting empty bottles I mean he buys bottled beer, drinks it, then washes and sanitizes the bottles and saves them for the next time he brews.

Kit from

Sure you can buy new empty bottles from a supplier but why? My husbands method is like a two-fer. Drink beer out of the bottle that someone else made. Then drink beer he makes out of the same bottle. It’s green. Right?

I think it’s great that he has this little hobby. What I do not think is great are the seemingly hundreds of empty beer bottles littering the garage until he has enough to brew again. It takes months to acquire enough bottles for one brewing session. Months!

Below is the answer. We have wanted one of these babies for a long time and this is the one.

From Asko Home Pub

The above version of the kegerator is even nice enough to be in the house. The one I had always imagined was some sort of converted old fridge that would only be suitable for the garage or barn.


Either way, I’d take a kegerator over the sea of empty bottles currently sitting in the corner of the garage.

Some day I’ll tell you the story of the beer my husband aptly named Old Explosion.

Bento Boxes

Last modified on 2010-06-23 13:51:26 GMT. 3 comments. Top.

I want a bento box. A bento box. A bento box.

Bento boxes are cool. A Japanese lunch box usually with small compartments for various items in your lunch. Talk about great portion control. They’re cute. They’re functional. And I love them.

I want one of these babies from Bento & Co

More traditional bento box

Kids bento boxes

Hello Kitty from

Love this cute little one from Bento & Co

Check out the insides of these bento boxes. Crazy! I would probably just throw some food into each compartment but these are art! I don’t think I could eat this food. Wait, yes I could.

Above from Not sure who to credit for the box below but it is awesome!

In conclusion, someone please buy me a bento box. One of those colorful ones from the first picture above. Thank you in advance.

Brussel sprouts are gross

Last modified on 2010-06-14 18:49:39 GMT. 2 comments. Top.

The Ladies (co-workers) had a food challenge a while back. There are four of us in our little group and we like to talk recipes, exercise (they talk, I listen), life, garden, etc.

Here we are…

that’s me at the top right. :-)

One such challenge was brussel sprouts. I hate them and know that they are evil. At the start of the challenge two of the ladies liked brussel sprouts, one was undecided and then there was me. I had them growing up and hated them then so figured they were still the vile tasting things of my youth and refused to believe they could ever be edible.

Pam (pictured above, bottom right) tried to convince me and Rachel (above, top left) that she had found a wonderful way to fix brussel sprouts and we would love them. Rochella (above, bottom left) liked brussel sprout anyway so she didn’t participate in the challenge. Rachel and I agreed to try the stupid brussel sprouts and take pictures of the experience for proof.  Below is what happened at my house.

Butter, lots of butter. Everything tastes better swimming in butter.

Then I added the little green brains to the skillet and sauted them and added dashes of pepper and sea salt.

Then I tried one.

They were just as I remembered! Pam is a LIAR. These things are gross. I was so afraid to put the little thing in my mouth that some of the butter even dripped off my chin when I bit into it which was almost as gross as the brussel sprout itself.

NOTE: I did not prepare the brussel sprouts as Pam instructed. I am sure, however, that no recipe will appeal to me as long as it contains brussel sprouts. Period. End of story.


Last modified on 2010-06-07 23:43:16 GMT. 3 comments. Top.

This spring I have talked a lot about asparagus at work. Actually, I have  talked about many vegetables while at work on break with The Ladies.

First, asparagus. Asparagus is first because it is one of my very favorite vegetables. When we bought our house in the country there was a large section on one side of the house that was wild with weeds and had been mowed around. I kept wondering what might be hiding in that patch of weeds. Bodies? Trash? Bottom-less pit?

Shortly after moving in, a good friend came by and mowed our yard, being careful to leave the overgrown weed-patch. Later she emailed my husband and said, “Guess what? That overgrown area in your yard is an asparagus patch!” Well hallelujah! That next spring we were thrilled to see the little purple and green stalks start to poke through.

From our asparagus patch.

There are endless ways to use and cook asparagus. We love it brushed with olive oil and grilled. Served with a sprinkling of sea salt and blue cheese crumbles. It’s also wonderful raw.

From our garden

Last summer I tried a recipe for an asparagus goat cheese tart. Delish!

Asparagus Goat Cheese Tart

I adapted this recipe from Bon Appetit (May 2001 issue) for the asparagus tart, leaving out the nutmeg. Note: I’ve also made the recipe as is and if you like mushrooms, you won’t be disappointed. Below is a picture of the mushroom tart I made.

Mushroom Goat Cheese Tart. Photo by Esther Wolf.


Utensil Holder

Last modified on 2010-06-03 19:16:15 GMT. 1 comment. Top.

While cooking last weekend I kept grabbing for utensils from our utensil holder and would get extremely annoyed. Our utensil holder is a decent size white ceramic jar that is smaller at the top than at the bottom. Similar to the one below from Crate and Barrel but smaller at the top.  Cute? Yes. Functional? No. Well, maybe functional if you only put 3-5 utensils in it.

I was annoyed because as I would lift the utensil I wanted out of the holder no less than 2 other utensil would come out with the one I wanted. OR, I couldn’t find the one I wanted and would have to remove several until I found the right one. I realize there are two obvious simple solutions. 1) don’t put so many spoons, ladles and spatulas in my cute but nonfunctional holder or 2) use two holders. I don’t like either of those solutions.

Below are some some options I found after doing a quick Google search for utensil holders.

From Agawa Indian Crafts & The Canadian Carver
This one comes from the blog Jeri's Organizing and Decluttering News

I’m still looking for the perfect utensil holder. There are so many options. I also thought maybe some sort of pitcher or vase could work. Honestly, I’ll probably just continuing using the one I already have cause I’m weird like that.

Big Mac Filet O Fish Quarter Pounder Fish Fries Icy Cokes Thick Shakes Sundaes and Apple Pies

Last modified on 2010-06-02 16:50:17 GMT. 1 comment. Top.

Fast food is the devil. It’s sneaky. It tells lies. It makes me feel good at first but then leaves me feeling empty pretty soon after. Damn devil fast food.

2 thoughts on “Food

  1. hi there

    im not sure now how i got here but am glad i did……………i went through the whole thing………………lol and found so many things i love , recipes. love all the minis ones the best and its so nice when people share stuff with other people. i have a house full of magazines and dont quite know now what to do with them as the computer holds so much now as well. i think i am addicted to always finding the best of each thing to make and it keeps me going and going and going so i never seem to stop buying magazines of looking through them at the doctors offcies and quietly ripping out the pages i want……………………thanks again.


  2. Karin-I know what you mean. I rarely make the same thing twice because I’m always looking and trying new recipes. I just went back through all my ripped out magazine and printed off recipes and tossed any that I haven’t made twice (or at all) or didn’t love. I keep using my frequent flyer miles to purchase magazines and what do I subscribe to? Bon Appetite, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Real Simple, Better Homes and Gardens, Everyday Food, and Martha Stewart Living. Pretty much just to look at and read the recipes. I felt like a total geek once when I told someone that I read cookbooks for fun. S’ok, I can admit it. I’m a werido. :)

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