Saturday, September 21, 2013

Apple Picking........Bittersweet

This year my apple bag felt a lot heavier than usual.  Perhaps it was taking a cue from my heart.   My apple picking companion was conspicuously absent.  My son and his girlfriend of four and half years have parted ways and although both have happily moved on, I found myself very sad. We had our apple picking perfected, an ideal picking team so to speak. My lovely young friend always remembered what apples we didn't care for and knew precisely were to find the Honey Crisps.  I thought we would be enjoying this wonderful autumn tradition together for many seasons to come.   It's funny how just the simple act of picking apples in an orchard can break your heart.

Hearts will never be made practical until they are made unbreakable.

                                                                            L.Frank Baum

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Wild Blackberry Jam.......

My neighbors were kind enough to invite me over to pick some of the wild blackberries that grow in their yard.  I am so happy I did.  The jam is delicious and so simple to make.  Recipe from Paula Deen. 

5 cups blackberries, washed and drained
1 tablespoon lemon juice
7 cups sugar
1 (1.75 ounce) package dry pectin
6 (1/2 pint) Canning Jars with lids
In a large saucepan over high heat add blackberries, sugar, and lemon juice. Stir frequently while bringing to a rolling boil. Stir in pectin and continue boiling for 1 minute. Remove from heat and skim any foam from the top if necessary. 
Sterilize jars and lids directly before using for 10 minutes in simmering water or in the dishwasher. Remove one at a time when ready to fill. While blackberry mixture is still hot, ladle into the hot sterilized jars, filling to within 1/4 inch of the top. Wipe rims with a clean damp cloth and seal jars with lids and rings. Process in a boiling water bath (making sure water level is 1 inch over the top of the jars) for 10 minutes. Remove from water bath and allow to cool on the counter.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Roasted Tomato Sauce.......

Here is my first batch of canned roasted tomato sauce. I will make two more batches before the end of summer.  This batch made seven pint and half jars.  The recipe is simple and very straight forward.  You will need enough tomatoes to fill (to capacity) a half sheet pan.  I usually buy a large box of canning tomatoes at the farm and have about 10 tomatoes left over, so you will use a lot.  

Cut all the tomatoes into quarters. There is no need to peel or core tomatoes.  Fill a half sheet pan with the cut tomatoes about a layer and a half deep. Chopped  a head of garlic and add to the tomatoes. Drizzle with olive oil, 3 tbsp. of balsamic vinegar, kosher salt, and pepper.
Mix well and roast in a 400 degree oven for 40 to 45 minutes.
With the top spout of the blender open, spoon the tomatoes into the blender.  Once it is pureed to your desired consistency add 2 tbsp. Italian seasoning and more salt and pepper to taste. Fill your prepared hot jars with the sauce and then add 1 tbsp. of Real Lemon Juice before putting on the lid 
 Process covered in a rolling boil in a water bath canner for 35 - 40 minutes:
These are the pint and half size jars was mentioning.  This is the first year that I have seen this particular size jar in the canning section of any store.  If you care to make spaghetti sauce from this recipe, I would simmer for an hour or two and add sweet basil a chopped onion and what ever meat you choose. It's a delicious basic tomato sauce.
What makes canning so much fun for me is that I know exactly what ingredients are in the food I use.  These tomatoes were  purchased from a local farm  not far from my home. 

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Happiness Is......A Summer Tomato

Tomato, tomate, tomaat, tomate, pomodoro. I don't think it matters what language you speak, nothing compares to a  sun ripened native tomato.
Aren't these two of the prettiest little tomatoes you have ever seen? They were grown in a galvanized bucket in my yard and they were sweet, juicy and so delicious. I gave them a quick rinse and popped them right in my mouth.  How do you like to eat your garden tomatoes?

"It's difficult to think anything but pleasant thoughts while eating a homegrown tomato." - Lewis Grizzard

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Strawberry Banana Pancakes

It's a pancake, it's a smoothie, it's a pancake, it's a smoothieIT'S DELICIOUS! 
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup Greek no-fat plain yogurt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil, melted ( you can use butter )
  • 1 ripe banana, mashed
  • 1 cup diced ripe strawberries
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Oil or spray oil for cooking


  1. Heat a griddle or large frying pan over medium high heat. Meanwhile, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl; then whisk yogurt,  mashed banana, vanilla extract and eggs together; add yogurt and eggs to flour mixture and stir to combine. Stir in melted butter or oil,  fold in strawberries.
  2. Spray oil on hot griddle and spoon batter into even cakes – about 8 – and let cook until bubbles form on the surface of the cakes, about 2 minutes. Flip and cook until golden brown on the other side, about another 2 minutes.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Afternoon Snack.......

I had a gnawing sensation in my stomach this afternoon.  A kind of peckish gnawing that grew more bothersome as the resounding rumbling grew louder.   A few of these ingredients were featured at my local healthy grocer a few weeks back and I knew this quick and easy snack would quiet the growing roar in my stomach. 
A crisp buttery waffle cookie, tangy goat cheese, sweet native strawberries and sticky, slow flowing cranberry honey.  It was a simple, it was easy and it filled the emptiness in my stomach before supper.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Meghans's Mini Cannoli Cups ..........

A gigantic thank you to my lovely niece Meghan and Pinterest.  These delectable mini cannoli were the hit of my other niece Katie's graduation party.  You have to make these! They are absolutely deliciously addicting! Thanks Meghan. You have a knack for yummy desserts.  Here is the recipe from Pillsbury Ready Made Pie Crusts. 

  • 1 container (15-oz.) whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cups confectioners sugar, plus extra for dusting finished cups
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
Pastry Cups:
  • Flour, for dusting work surface
  • 1 Pillsbury refrigerated pie crusts, softened according to package directions
  • 3 tablespoons coarse natural sugar (Turbinado)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

  1. For the filling:  In a large bowl with an electric mixer combine all ingredients for the filling except the chocolate chips and mix well until creamy. Place the filling in a 1-gallon plastic storage bag and chill while you make the cups.
  2. To prepare cannoli cups:  Heat oven to 425 degrees F. Unroll the piecrusts onto a lightly floured surface and sprinkle the top of each crust with the natural sugar and the cinnamon. Lightly roll over it with a rolling pin so that sugar and cinnamon are pressed into the dough. With a 2 1/2-3 inch round biscuit cutter or cookie cutter, cut out circles and lightly press them inside an ungreased mini muffin or mini cupcake pan to create a pastry cup.
  3. Bake for about 10 minutes or until cups are golden. Remove from oven and allow cups to cool. Once cups are cool, they can be removed from tin and filled.
  4. Remove filling from refrigerator, cut one of the bottom corners off the bag and pipe a little less than a tablespoon of filling into the cooled cannoli cups. Sprinkle with mini chocolate chips, dust with powdered sugar, and serve.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Simple Pleasures......

Cooling Bella off under the hose.  Simple pleasures......


Saturday, May 25, 2013

Cherry Hand Pies......

I cheated a little and used ready made pie dough for these adorable little cherry hand pies.  I have to be honest here. I don't like or eat cooked cherries, but everyone else seemed to enjoy them.  Here's the recipe!

For the filling:
3 cups pitted cherries, roughly chopped (1 to 1 1/2 pounds whole cherries)
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Combine the cherries, granulated sugar, cinnamon and salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring, until the cherries are juicy and the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring, 5 more minutes. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of the juice into a small bowl; stir in the cornstarch until dissolved. Pour the cornstarch mixture into the saucepan and continue to simmer, stirring, until very thick, 6 to 8 more minutes. Transfer to a bowl, stir in the lemon juice and let cool.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  1. On a lightly floured surface, roll the  ready made pie dough. Cut out 5-inch circles.  Place cut circles on the prepared baking sheets,  Spoon 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons of filling into the center of each circle, fold over, making sure the filling is not spilling out the edges, and crimp the edges with a fork. Pierce the tops to create steam vents.
  2. Brush tops with egg wash and sprinkle with coarse sugar.  Bake for 15 minutes, until golden. Let sit on sheets for 2 minutes, then transfer to a wire cooling rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Meyer Lemon Tart .......

I finally found Meyer lemons this past weekend at the farm I frequent in New Hampshire.  Now all I needed was a delicious recipe that would highlight their subtle tartness.  I  found just what I had been looking for in a Pillsbury recipe  Was it ever delicious.  Here is the recipe.
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp. cornstarch 
  • 2 tbsp. flour
  • 1 1/2 cups water 
  • 3 eggs yolks, beaten 
  • 1 tbsp. Meyer lemon zest 
  • 1/3 cup Meyer lemon juice 
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 1 Pillsbury pie crust 
    • Heat oven to 450°F. Bake pie crust as directed on box for One-Crust Baked Shell, using 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom or 9-inch glass pie plate. Cool on cooling rack 15 minutes.
    •  In 2-quart saucepan, mix sugar, cornstarch and flour. Gradually stir in water, stirring until smooth. Heat to boiling over medium heat; cook and stir 1 minute longer. Remove from heat. Quickly stir about 1/2 cup hot mixture into beaten egg yolks; mix well. Gradually stir egg mixture back into hot mixture. Stir in lemon peel and lemon juice. Cook over medium heat about 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Add butter; stir until melted. Let stand 10 minutes.
    • Carefully pour hot lemon filling in crust. Cool 2 hours; top with blackberries ans strawberry slices. Refrigerate until serving time. Remove side of pan. Cover and refrigerate any remaining tart.
    The tart was a great success and won raves all around.

    Monday, May 6, 2013

    Chick Pea and Edamame Salad.....

    Simple, quick, healthy and delicious.  Everything I want in a salad.  Here's the recipe, enjoy!    
    1 (15oz.) can of chick peas, drained and rinsed
    12 oz. edamame, no need to defrost, they'll defrost while the salad rests in the fridge
    1 red pepper, diced small
    1/3 cup golden raisins
    1/2 cup dried cranberries
    2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
    3 to 4 tbsp. good quality balsamic vinegar
    salt and pepper to taste

    Note* I only use GMO free ( genetically modified organisms) edamame from Traders Joe's.

    Mix everything in a bowl and let it sit for a few hours in the fridge so that the vinegar and oil can flavor the salad.   I like to eat this salad with a piece of whole grain pita.

    Sunday, April 21, 2013

    Good Old Fashioned Corn Bread.......

    There are certain food combinations that just naturally go together.   Calamari and hot peppers, steamed lobster with drawn butter and pancakes dripping with maple syrup to name a few.  At our house cornbread and chili are always paired together,  now after my impromptu breakfast, I'm also adding cornbread and honey to the list.  Enter the cranberry bog honey (purchased still warm from the beekeepers) drizzled generously over a  crumbly leftover piece of cornbread.  It was a delicious old fashioned breakfast treat.
    Here is the cornbread recipe adapted from allrecipes.com
    •  1/2 cup butter, melted
    •  1/2 cup sugar
    •  2 eggs
    • 1 cup buttermilk
    • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
    • 1 cup cornmeal
    • 1 cup all purpose flour
    • 1/2 tsp. salt
    Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

    1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Grease an 8 inch square pan.
    2. Stir melted butter and sugar together.. Quickly add eggs and beat until well blended. Combine buttermilk with baking soda and stir into mixture in pan. Stir in cornmeal, flour, and salt until well blended and just a few lumps remain. Pour batter into the greased pan.
    3. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

    Tuesday, April 16, 2013

    Crab Cake Eggs Benedict.....

    National Eggs Benedict day is today.   I'm sure these would have been over the top with home made crab cakes but I had these store bought crab cakes in the freezer so why not use them.   Once again I used Ina's recipe for Hollandaise Sauce.  Easily assembled toasted English muffin, cooked crab cake, poached egg and Hollandaise sauce.   It was delicious and so easy.   Here is Ina's recipe.

    Hollandaise Sauce
    2 extra-large egg yolks, at room temperature
    1 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
    3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
    1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    Pinch of cayenne pepper
    6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
    Place the egg yolks, lemon juice, salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper in the jar of a blender and process on low for 15 seconds. Melt the butter in a small saucepan until it is sizzling hot. Remove the small clear insert in the top of the blender. With the blender on low, slowly add the hot butter to the egg and lemon mixture and blend for 30 seconds, until the sauce is very thick. Use immediately.

    Please keep the bombing victims and Boston Massachusetts in your prayers. These cowardice  attacks of terror always seemed to be so far away from us here in Massachusetts.  Now it feels as though it is in our front yards.

    Tuesday, April 9, 2013

    All Natural Vinegar and Orange Cleaner.....

    I'm loving the effectiveness of this all natural vinegar and orange cleaner.   Not only does it clean the counters and make the kitchen smell great, but if I wanted to I could  mix it with olive oil, salt and pepper and pour it over salad greens.  Imagine that!  The directions are simple.  Take a couple of glass jars, place the peels of three or four oranges into each jar and cover with white vinegar.  Let it sit for two weeks then strain into a clean spray bottle. No toxic ingredients or fumes.  It works like a charm.

    Saturday, April 6, 2013

    Cooking with Cast Iron......

    I'm sure many of you have read numerous articles extolling the virtues of cooking with cast iron.  The most compelling reason being the lack of PFC's (perfluorocarbons).   I don't know anyone who wants to fill their home and bodies with the toxins found in non-stick pans.  The appealing benefits of cast iron are many.
    Health wise the benefit comes during the cooking process when trace amounts of good for your blood iron are leached from the pan into your food. Isn't that a cool fact.  Now lets talk money.  Economically you can't beat the price.   On average a twelve inch skillet runs somewhere in the vicinity of $25.00 to $30.00 dollars.  Then there is the longevity factor.  When properly taken care of a cast iron pan can last generations.
    If you need evidence on how foods crisp and brown just look at my lemon cutlets above. Seasoned correctly cast iron becomes non-stick and a cinch to clean.   A little hot water and a stiff brush takes care of anything that might stick.  I hope if you don't already cook with cast iron you will give it a try.  I know you will be pleased you did.  

    Sunday, March 24, 2013

    Lemon Artichoke Chicken.......

    The ten inches of snow we got on Tuesday has finally started to melt.   There is a feeling of renewal in the air.   To celebrate the season of regrowth I made this wonderful chicken dish.  The whole dinner tonight felt like a breath of spring.   Here is the recipe. Enjoy!

    1 1/2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
    1/2 cup flour seasoned with 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. pepper, 1/4 tsp. dried oregano and dash sweet
    4 tablespoons olive oil
    1/2 cup white wine
    1 cup low sodium chicken broth
    1 can artichoke hearts
    3 cloves garlic, minced
    the juice from one lemon
    the zest from lemon
    handful of grape tomatoes
    1. Coat chicken thighs in seasoned flour.  Shake off any excess flour.
    2. Heat oil in a large heavy skillet over medium high heat and brown chicken on both sides, about 2-3 minutes per side.
    3. Add wine, chicken broth and artichokes to skillet and bring to a boil. Cover, turn the heat down to low, and cook for 8 minutes. Uncover skillet and add garlic, lemon juice and zest and cook for 2 more minutes.
    4. Remove chicken from sauce and bring sauce to a low boil. Cook for another 5 minutes or so until sauce has reduced a little.
    5. Return chicken to skillet, toss in the grape tomatoes and cook until chicken is no longer pink.  About 5 to 7 minutes more.

    The chicken was moist and pleasingly tangy from the lemon juice.  I served the chicken and artichokes with roasted red potatoes and steamed asparagus with lemon and grated fresh black pepper.  Delicious!

    Monday, March 18, 2013

    The Perfect Meatball.......

    My sister Mary and my brother-in-law Rick made these tender and delicious meatballs for my nieces baby shower last weekend.  I have thought of nothing else but these meatballs since.  The recipe comes from Allrecipes.com. and I will never use another recipe but this one again.

    Here is the recipe, adapted slightly with portions only.
    • 1 1/2 lb. ground beef
    • 1 lb. ground veal
    • 1 lb. ground pork
    • 4 cloves garlic. chopped
    • 3 eggs
    • 1 1/2 cup grated Pecarino Romano Cheese
    • 1/4 chopped parsley
    • 2 cups stale Italian bread crumbs
    • salt and pepper to taste 
    • 1 1/2 cups water
    In the food processor, add the chopped garlic, stale Italian bread and parsley, process until bread, garlic and parsley have become crumbs. In a large bowl, add all the meats, eggs and cheese.  Next, empty the crumb mixture from the food processor into the meat bowl and start to mix while adding the water a half cup at a time.

     From into good size balls and bake for 30 minutes in a 350 degree preheated oven.

    After the 30 minutes in the oven, simmer for an hour in your favorite sauce.  I used my quick home made summer sauce. (marinara) You've got to try these meatballs.  They were perfectly seasoned and tender enough to use a fork to cut through.

    Thursday, February 21, 2013

    White Bean and Avocado Dip.......

    My good friend Mary Ocean Breezes and Country Sneezes came for lunch this week. It's not very often that we get to meet for lunch in the middle of the week, but its February school vacation and we both have the week off.  I served this yummy, creamy white bean and avocado dip with tortilla chips while we chatted and enjoyed the the warmth from the fireplace.
    Here is the recipe.
    • 2 avocados
    • 15 oz. can of Cannellini beans ( rinsed and drained)
    • 2 large garlic clove, peeled
    • Juice from 2 limes
    • 3/4 tsp. ground cumin
    • 2 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
    • 1 tsp. taco seasoning
    • salt & pepper to taste
    • pinch pepper flakes
    Put all the above ingredients in a food processor and pulse until blended and almost smooth. 

    After snacking on the dip and chips it was off to the dining room for steaming bowls of chicken taco soup and Mary's delicious blueberry pie for dessert.

    I was thrilled when Mary offered to bring a pie for our dessert.  As you can see from the bottom right photo,  I had all I could do from picking up the plate and licking it.  If you love blueberries as much as I do, you are going to love this pie.   Here is Mary's recipe for  Blue Ribbon Winner Blueberry Pie.  

    Sunday, February 17, 2013

    Low Fat Lemon Ricotta Pancakes with Chia Seeds

    Read here why I try to sneak in a tablespoon of Chia seeds in almost everything I eat, including these delicious low fat pancakes.  I combined ingredients from three different recipes and came up with these.  Enjoy!
    • 1/2 cup whole-wheat flour,
    • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
    • 2 tsp sugar
    • 1 tsp baking powder
    • 1/4 tsp baking soda
    • 3/4 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
    • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
    • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
    • 1 large egg
    • 4 1/2 tbsp liquid egg whites
    • 1/2 cup buttermilk
    • 1 tsp freshly grated lemon zest
    • 2 tbsp chia seeds
      1. Whisk whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda in a medium bowl.  Next,  whisk in the ricotta, egg, liquid egg whites, vanilla, buttermilk, lemon zest and lemon juice in a large bowl until smooth. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined.  Do not over mix.
      2. Pour 1/4 cup batter onto a well oiled cast iron pan.  Cook until the edges are dry and bubbles begin to form, about 2 minutes. Flip the pancakes over and cook until golden brown, about 2 or 3 minutes more.
      I served my pancakes with home made warm blueberry sauce and Grade A Dark Amber New Hampshire Maple Syrup.

      Thursday, February 14, 2013

      Meet Lillian......Lily for short.

      Do you remember my post about possibly getting Bella a friend?  Well, our daughter called and asked us if we would take care of Lily until May.  It seems a case of severe cat allergies from my daughter's roommate has brought Lily to our doorstep.  Bella is not pleased with the arrival of this new cat in her home.  This stealth cat has attacked Bella twice from hiding places in our home that I never even knew existed.  Lily also sits and stares at Bella for long periods of time, which makes my poor girl very uncomfortable. While Bella is relaxing on my bed, Lily will sit in the doorway just staring at her. I think the cat is doing this on purpose. There has to be some type of telepathic message this cat is transmitting to the dog.  While the cat is engaged in her intimidation tactics,  Bella immediately stares straight up at the ceiling.  So strange......I'll keep you posted.  

      Saturday, February 9, 2013

      Update...The After Photo

      You wouldn't know it was the same backyard would you?  You can still see the flower pot that was sitting on the stone wall yesterday.  I don't know the final snow accumulation, but my guess is probably over two feet.

       I couldn't believe the size of this snow drift on my car.   It doesn't look like I'll be going anywhere for awhile.

      The snow on top of my car is as tall as the garage roof. There is a full dormer on the back of the house that is completely covered by the drifts on the garage roof.  My husband will use the roof rake after we clear the car off and move it closer to the end of the driveway.

      We haven't had a chance to snow blow a path to the front door yet.  There is so much snow in the driveway and of course we had to snow blow a space in the yard for Bella to use.  It might not get done today.  The traveling ban that had been in place through out the blizzard will be lifted later this afternoon.  The good news it seems, is that most everyone has weathered the storm without incident.  Good news.

      Friday, February 8, 2013

      Wicked Storm Coming......

      There is a snow storm heading toward the Northeast.  It is supposed to be a whopper of a blizzard with sustained winds of over 35 miles per hour and an expected 2 ft. or more of snow in isolated areas.  We are in the isolated area. The meteorologists are saying it could be a storm of historic portions.  We shall see........     
      I'm posting a before the blizzard photo of the stone wall in my backyard taken 10 minutes ago at 12 noon.  Tomorrow if we have power, I'll post a during or after the blizzard photo. Right now I have a pot roast and all the fixings cooking and a batch of brownies in the oven. The house is toasty warm and the fireplace has a crackling fire roaring.  We are prepared.

      Friday, February 1, 2013

      Best Brownies from Pinterest...

      A pin on Pinterest claims that these were the best brownies ever.  I would have to agree.  The recipe is from a blog called Saltbox House .   It seems her aunt was a lunch lady in a school cafeteria and this was their recipe for brownies.  Lucky kids!
      1 cup of butter 
      1/2 cup of cocoa ( I used double dutch dark cocoa from King Arthurs )
      2 cups of flour
      2 cups of sugar
      4 eggs
      4 teaspoons of vanilla
      1 cup of chopped walnuts (optional)
      Melt butter, add cocoa, mix until smooth
      Add flour, and sugar. Beat together and then add eggs, vanilla, and nuts. Mix until combined. Do not over stir. Pour into greased, floured  9x13 baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes.
      The Chocolate Icing Recipe:
      1/4 cup of softened butter
      1/4 cup of canned milk (regular milk is fine)
      1/4 cup of cocoa
      3 cups of powdered sugar
      dash of salt
      Mix all together and frost as desired.

      Saturday, January 26, 2013

      Baby Spinach and Arugula Salad with Pears and Dried Cranberries

      As a surprise,  my husband bought a tasting for us at The England Olive Oil Company in Concord MA.  We had a fantastic time sampling their olive oils from around the world and balsamic vinegars imported from Modena Italy.  It was difficult to choose, but we settled on a red apple balsamic vinegar, a pear and cranberry white balsamic vinegar, an everyday extra virgin olive oil and and an extra virgin olive oil infused with garlic.   Pear, dried cranberries and blue cheese on a bed of baby spinach and arugula were the perfect ingredients to highlight our new purchases.  I splashed the extra virgin olive oil and the pear cranberry white balsamic vinegar over the greens and ripe Bosc Pear.   A little drizzle of my cranberry bog honey, blue cheese and fresh ground black pepper finished it off.   Easy and so delicious.

      Sunday, January 20, 2013

      Spaghetti Squash.....Thai Style

      More often than not when we eat spaghetti squash it is usually topped with shrimp scampi, spaghetti sauce or Italian style vegetables with herbs. I was cautiously optimistic about using the squash with Thai flavors.  I'm glad I stepped out of  my Italian box.  The dish was delicious.  Here is the recipe adapted from Allrecipes.


      1 lb. fresh shrimp, peeled and de-veined 
      7 oz. bag fresh beans sprouts
      1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
      1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce
      3 tablespoons rice vinegar
      2 tablespoons roasted sesame oil
      1 tablespoon garlic chili paste 
      1 tablespoon grated ginger root
      4 garlic cloves, minced
      5 green onions, chopped
      1/3 cup chopped cashews 
      chopped cilantro

      Season the squash with salt, pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.  Cook the spaghetti squash in a 350 degree oven until tender, about an hour. While squash is baking,  start to mix the sauce. In a bowl combine the peanut butter, soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, garlic chili paste, minced ginger, minced garlic, and green onions.

      In a saute pan heat 2 tbsp. of the sauce and add the shrimp and bean sprouts.  Cook on medium heat until shrimp are pink.  When squash is done, use a fork to scrap out the flesh into a bowl. Add the shrimp and  beans sprouts. Next add the sauce, green onions, chopped cilantro and chopped nuts.  
      Toss gently to coat.

      Mary from Ocean Breezes and Country Sneezes  called it an Asian- Italian fusion dish. I think no matter what you call it, you'll be calling it delicious.

      Wednesday, January 16, 2013

      Healthy Slow Cooker Chicken Taco Soup.......

      Would you believe this soup is only 150 calories a serving.  Well, minus the shredded cheese and corn chips.  I threw everything in the slow cooker before work and when I came home I couldn't wait to have a steamy bowl.  Enjoy, it couldn't get any easier.  Here's the recipe courtesy of  my sister Ann.

      • 1 medium onion, chopped
      • 3 cloves garlic minced
      • 16 oz. can chili beans (I used Bush's)
      • 15 oz. can black beans, drained
      • 15 oz. can corn ( I used Trader Joe's frozen roasted corn, 1/2 a bag)
      • 8 oz. tomato sauce
      • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
      • 15 oz. tomatoes with green chilies
      • 1 pkg. taco seasoning ( I used my homemade no salt taco seasoning)
      • 6 frozen boneless skinless chicken thighs
      Put all the above ingredients in the slow cooker. Turn on low and cook for 8 hours.  Pull out chicken thighs, shred, then toss back in.

      Saturday, January 5, 2013

      Low Fat Pumpkin Pancakes........

      I'm starting out the New Year right and lightening up any recipe that I think could make a difference in my waistline.   Low fat pumpkin pancakes is a keeper.  Here is the recipe.


      • 1/2  cup all-purpose flour
      • 1/2 whole wheat flour
      • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
      • 1  tsp baking powder
      • pinch of salt
      • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
      • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
      • 1 large egg
      • 1 tbsp canola oil
      • 1 cup buttermilk
      • 1/3 cup pure pumpkin
      Mix flours, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice together in a bowl. Combine egg, oil, buttermilk and pumpkin in another bowl. Stir pumpkin mixture into dry ingredients. Let stand for five minutes. Use a 1/4 cup of batter per pancake and pour onto a hot griddle or nonstick frying pan that has been oiled or sprayed with non stick spray.  Flip pancakes when bubbles appear and edges are cooked.  I toasted a few pecans and served them on top with genuine New Hampshire maple syrup.
      Makes 8-10 smaller sized pancakes .

      Wednesday, January 2, 2013

      Birthday Girl...

      Happy 23rd Birthday to our beautiful daughter who is just as lovely on the inside as she is on the outside. We love you and are so proud of you.  

      “Just one smile
      Immensely increases the beauty
      Of the universe.”
      Sri Chinmoy,

      Tuesday, January 1, 2013

      A Little Time Away.........

      Wow,  I can't believe how long it has been since my last post.  I can't believe how long it has been since I have sat down at the computer.  Christmas crept up on me rather quickly this year.  I was behind on baking, cleaning,  shopping, decorating and anything else that goes along with the holidays.  Next year I will be better prepared. 
      I'm thrilled the New Year is here and all my resolutions have been made.  One of my resolutions is to cook a big family meal once a week.  A meal where I put out the cloth napkins and set a nice table.  Today was that big meal. 

      Above is the sirloin strip beef roast we had.  I sprinkled Montreal Seasoning all over the top,  roasted it in a 500 degree oven for twenty minutes and then turned the heat down to 325 for the remainder of the cooking time.
      The roast cooking instructions came from my friend Mary (OBCS).
      Aren't these the coolest looking carrots..  They are called Carnival Carrots,  I steamed them,  added brown sugar, butter and a few tablespoons of fresh orange juice.  The purple carrot had a bright yellow center.  

      A delicious meal to gather the ones I love together around the dinner table.  A meal shared with the people who make me the happiest, the people who make my heart swell.   Wishing you all many wonderful meals shared with the ones you love.  Happy New Year friends!

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